Since its inception in 2008, the Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS) has grown year-on-year to become the region’s premier yachting event. International shipbuilders from as far afield as Asia and America come to exhibit along displays showcasing the latest water toys products, safety equipment and family entertainments. The city itself has plenty of attractions to draw holidaymakers and locals alike and this year has a change of location.
CharterWorld spoke with DIBS event organiser Trixie LohMirmand about how the Dubai International Boat Show has changed over the years, how the UAE compares to the charter grounds of the Mediterranean and Caribbean, and what guests can expect from this year’s event.
Spokesperson: Trixie LohMirmand
The 2018 show will be held from 27 February till 3 March 2018 at a new venue. What are the benefits and what does the new location offer?
The Dubai Canal is the ideal location for this year’s Dubai International Boat Show because the 3.2-kilometre long extension runs from the creek in Old Dubai, through Business Bay and into the Arabian Gulf. The Dubai Canal will be a fantastic base for DIBS until work is complete on its new home at the Dubai Harbour. The Harbour, which is currently under construction at the north end of Dubai Marina, will be a huge boost to the UAE’s standing in the international maritime community when it opens in 2020.
DIBS’s new site at the mouth of the Dubai Canal is that it provides unprecedented access to the surrounding business and leisure hubs such as DIFC, DWTC and Business Bay, as well as upscale residential communities such as Downtown Dubai and Jumeirah. Jumeirah is truly the heart of Dubai – the coastal neighbourhood was once the home of the fisherman and pearl divers that built this city, and we are thrilled to be located near the neighbourhood that embodies the dream of Dubai.
The Dubai Canal has helped transform the beautiful neighbourhood of Jumeirah into a unique waterfront destination in the heart of Dubai, with yachts able to sail past stunning old villas, mosques and parks as they make their way along the waterway.
The Dubai Canal itself represents Dubai’s ambitions to be the most important maritime destination in the Middle East, which is in line with DIBS’ standing as the leading event for superyachts, luxury leisure craft and every sector of the industry.
Another boost for visitors to DIBS at The Dubai Canal will be its proximity to world-famous landmarks, with the Burj Khalifa, Dubai Mall and Dubai Frame just minutes away. As well as ample parking for visitors who chose to drive to DIBS, the Canal-side site also features great transportation links with bus, metro and water taxi stations all close by.
Undoubtedly, there will be an array of superyachts and related businesses exhibiting. Have you seen a growth in attending exhibitors and are there any exciting additions to look out for this year?
With over 80 percent of the event’s exhibition space already reserved by leading businesses and brands from all over the world, this year’s show has been met with brilliant support from stakeholders and exhibitors.
Visitors will see an extensive selection of international brands and companies, each displaying their unique range of products and services that cover every aspect of the maritime industry.
Some of the highlights at this year’s DIBS include displays by Gulf Craft, the innovative, award-winning UAE-based luxury yacht builder behind the popular Majesty and Nomad Yachts, China-based global maritime supply company Guangzhou Stark Yacht Marina Engineering, and Benetti, one of Italy’s oldest shipyards and specialists in the construction of luxury yachts.
Having companies from across the world attend DIBS shows just how popular the event has become on the global stage, and how important the region is to the industry.
The 2018 event will also welcome two new areas: Future of Yachting and Luxury Boulevard. The Future of Yachting area will showcase innovative materials, technologies and up-and-coming superyacht designers, while Luxury Boulevard will highlight exhibitors and high-end brands amplifying marine enthusiasts’ passion for yachting and luxury.
What is the current state of yachting scene in Dubai and the region compared to other more established grounds, such as the Mediterranean and the Caribbean?
The yachting scene in Dubai and, by association the wider Middle East, has continued to grow and maintain its strength in recent years. Dubai benefits from being the major marine industry location in the region, and the yachting scene is traditionally strong and always evolving.
The next few years will be an exciting time for the yachting scene in the Middle East, and Dubai in particular, with a host of new mega-developments having recently been announced.
The Dubai Harbour, which will spread over 20 million sq. feet and feature up to 1,400 new berths designed for large leisure yachts, alongside a cruise ship port and terminal, will dramatically boost the UAE’s maritime offering and appeal by 2020.
As a part of the Dubai Harbour project, the Dubai developer Emaar has announced plans to provide residents with ‘Miami style’ living on a new private island, Emaar Beachfront. Covering 10 million sq. feet, the new development will feature restaurants, shops and the home to 27 luxury residential towers.
Dubai Harbour is at the heart of ambitious plans to transform Dubai’s waterfront, which include two new man-made islands, Bluewaters Island and the recently opened Bulgari Resort Dubai, and Dubai Canal.
These, along with work to enhance established destinations such as Dubai Marina and the Palm Jumeirah, will boost Dubai’s appeal as the region’s – and the world’s – premier sailing and lifestyle destination and future strengthen the region’s maritime industry.
How important is DIBS when it comes to promoting the luxury yachting scene in the Middle East?
As the only boat show in the region that offers a comprehensive and diverse range of products, from small leisure boats to superyachts and the latest sailing technology, DIBS is at the heart of the boating and luxury yachting industry in the UAE and the Middle East.
DIBS helps to promote the full marine lifestyle to one of the most affluent and active markets in the world. The Middle East is one of the leading superyacht markets, with 55 percent of the region’s ultra-high net worth individuals likely to own, or intending to buy, a superyacht.
DIBS 2018 will highlight the emirate’s status as the world’s most exciting and glamorous leisure marine hub that now competes on a global scale with shows such as Miami, Cannes and Monaco.
However, unlike some traditional markets, DIBS has been successful in attracting a younger audience with visitors aged in their early 30s making up more than half of attendees each year. These potential customers represent the future of the industry, so it is important that DIBS is able to offer them the full yacht lifestyle experience.
Is Dubai and the surrounding cruising areas well equipped for welcoming more superyachts to the area, in terms of marinas, services, suppliers …?
The yachting community is very well catered for in Dubai. The multiple marine development announcements over the past 12 months have been extremely positive for the local industry.
Construction is currently underway on the mega-development Dubai Harbour, which will be the Middle East’s largest marina and will expand Dubai’s yacht capacity by 50%, while more space is being added to established locations such as Dubai Marina and Palm Jumeirah each year.
DIBS features some of the world’s biggest superyacht manufacturers and marina architects. These companies have found the region to be an important and growing market for their products as demand for yachts and the yacht lifestyle continues to grow.
How does this year’s show compare to the previous ones and how do you keep it fresh every year?
With the new location at Dubai Canal, there will certainly be a ‘new’ feeling to this year’s show, with comparisons between previous years being obvious to regular visitors.
As with every year, we strive to keep the show fresh and different. There are always new areas, exhibitors and events – this year’s show will feature new attractions including Future of Yachting and Luxury Boulevard – and we reach a wider audience year-on-year as the event becomes more inclusive and appealing to a wider group of people.
It is vital that DIBS reflects the latest trends in the industry. This can include featuring the latest extreme sports and diving equipment, developments in yacht design, new marina technologies and advances in the supply and manufacturing chain and activations by leading companies and newcomers to the industry.
DIBS is also a fantastic opportunity for business leaders, boat owners and builders and anyone who has a keen connection with the industry to network with fellow professionals, to create new contacts and secure sales and orders.
Apart from being a wonderful attraction with a host of great activities and entertainment, DIBS is an important date on the maritime industry’s international calendar of events.
What are your expectations for this year’s show?
Ultimately, we are expecting growing levels of success, reception and positive feedback as we’ve achieved over the last 25 years. It will be a top attraction this year, given that the new location is larger and we have new areas to explore. Above all we expect our exhibitors to find it remains the number one marine industry trade show in the region and a globally-important one. And we expect our visitors to enjoy the wide-range of stands, demonstrations and things to do – from kayaking to kite surfing and more.