Set to take place at Lusail Marina in Doha‘s Lusail City from November 12th to 16th, the inaugural Qatar International Boat Show (QIBS) is ready for a major premiere on the international boating show circuit. Not only has it drawn attention of the leading names in the maritime industry from all over the world, but it has even managed to secure more international exhibitors as other well-established European boat shows.
To coincide with the first Qatar International Boat Show, the country is putting together plans to create its very own Marine Association. H.E. Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani, President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), announced there would be an initiative to organise a round table meeting of maritime stakeholders and government officials held during the Show, at which the Qatar Marine Association formation will be discussed.
The timing is auspicious, he said, because one of the primary objectives of the QIBS is to establish a platform for the well-being of the maritime industry. Such an Association would promote awareness of the local market, create opportunities by identifying needs and attracting the right calibre of specialists, and achieve international recognition for all that Qatar has to offer in this field.
Some suggested ideas for what the association would be responsible is creating policies and standards according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Further it can become a member of AMIA Arab Marine Industries Association; be a focal point for the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) and its members; and be a focal point for the International Federation of Boat Show Organisers (IFBSO) and its members. Other areas in which such an Association could play an active role would be in promoting tourism, encouraging environmental concerns and educate of all things maritime, of course under the guidance of the Ministry, Al-Thani added.
The international exhibitors’ list reads like a Who’s Who in the industry. Sixteen international shipyards have already confirmed their attendance including top names such as The Ferretti Group (represented in the region by Gulf Yachts and ART Marine), Sunseeker International, Princess Yachts International, Azimut Yachts, Sea Ray, Sanlorenzo, Benetti, Overmarine, FIPA Group, Sunreef Yachts, Bilgin Shipyard, Kaiserwerft and Cranchi Group.
On the local front, there will be a promising exhibitor presence, with Qatar itself represented by four boat building companies – Al Wakra, Al Udeid, Halul and Milaha – all of which manufacture highly cost-effective fibre-glass boats. Exhibitors from the UAE include Gulf Craft, Emirates Boats, Al Shaali, Dubai Marine and Sawamy; and from Bahrain, Al Dhaen. In addition, Performance Marine of Qatar will be showcasing Cigarette Racing Boats, Nortech Hi-Performance and Glasstream boats.
A total of 35 boats will be on display at QIBS, including the fastest composite Maxi Open Yacht ever to be built – Overmarine Group’s Mangusta 165 Maxi Open Yacht, which is 50 metres in length and has a top speed of 40 knots.
At a pre-Show press conference, speakers from among the exhibitors and sponsors took questions from the media, including First Lieutenant Mishal Al Mannai, representing the Ministry of Interior’s Coast Guards division; Salem Al Kubaisi, Acting Chief Corporate Services Officer of Katara Hospitality; Belal Al- Kadry Executive Assistant Manager and Director of rooms operations of The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Doha; Abdulaziz Al Zeyara Strategic Planning Senior Manager of Lusail, Wayne Shepherd, General Manager of Mourjan Marinas, Mubarak Nasser Al Khalifa and Hamad Al Mannai, Managers from the Municipality of Al Daayen; Johney Abraham, International Sales Manager of Qatar Airways; Elie Hanna, General Manager of AIG; Issa Al Hitmi, CEO of AL KASS TV; Dr Khalid Abdulnoor Saifeldeen, Director of Hamad International Training Centre and Chairman of Kulluna: For Health and Safety; Joe Aoun, General Manager of BCC; and Essa Al Mannai, Chairman of Al Mannai Marine.
Hamad Abdulla Al Mulla, Chief Executive Officer, Katara Hospitality later on stated: “Katara Hospitality has always been at the forefront of its industry and, by supporting the first edition of Qatar International Boat Show, we embrace this pioneering initiative. As the investor who committed to developing the iconic hospitality complex in Lusail City, we believe QIBS 2013 is a perfect platform to enchant local, regional and international guests with our impeccable hospitality services.”
Abdulaziz Al Zeyara, Strategic Planning Senior Manager of Lusail City said: ‘Lusail Marina is designed to offer a unique experience to yachting and marine lifestyle enthusiasts in a safe and secure environment with world class facilities. QIBS is another proof of Qatar’s growing reputation for hosting international events, and we are delighted to host it at Lusail Marina, in Lusail City this year.”
Wayne Shepherd, General Manager, Marina Operations, Mourjan Marinas IGY also stated: ‘Mourjan Marinas looks forward to welcoming internationally-recognised partners to Lusail Marina for the Qatar International Boat Show. The strength of the partners and exhibitors on board is testament to Doha’s continued growth as a yachting destination on an international level. Many of these partners share values that Mourjan Marinas echoes – quality of craftsmanship, forward-thinking products and customer service of a world-class standard – which align with the positioning of Lusail Marina as a premier yachting destination. We look forward to working together with QIBS in making the event a success.”
Faysal Mikati, Vice President of Snow Comms Conceptual Communications & Events, which is organising the Qatar International Boat Show, said the number of companies that have signed up for the show has surpassed all expectations. Exhibitors know that the market in Qatar already has large numbers of potential buyers and by exhibiting at QIBS, the international shipyards have the chance to meet their existing customers in their own environment – whereas before they had to travel half way round the world to meet one another. As well as finding yachts, some visitors will be looking for fishing boats, while expatriates are predominantly in the market for fun boats.
Mikati added that the International Boat Show is not a one off event – it literally takes years to become a solid show, and already discussions are taking place with potential exhibitors for the 2014 edition of the show. “QIBS 2013 will truly be representative of both the international and regional maritime communities for the mutual benefit of all who come to visit the Show and the exhibitors themselves; and we are very confident that the first QIBS being held in November 2013 will set the scene for successful boat shows to be held in Qatar for many years to come,” Mikati concluded.
Nader Salameh, Marketing Manager of Ali Bin Ali Luxury & Fashion said: ‘As the official distributor of Ulysse Nardin in Qatar for the past eight years we are extremely proud to be a sponsor of the very first Qatar International Boat Show. With exhibitors coming from all around the world and Ulysee Nardin being recognized with boating globally, give us a great opportunity to present our latest collection at the Qatar International Boat Show.’
Elie Hanna, General Manager of AIG Qatar said: We are proud to sponsor QIBS as it’s an ideal platform to showcase the country’s rapidly growing marina developments. AIG is pleased to see this tremendous growth and to offer tailor-made Private Yacht covers that suit individual customers insurance requirements.”
Sponsorship requests for the Show have exceeded expectations, with strong support being shown from a number of high profile companies and government entities, including: Lusail Marina – the venue for QIBS; Mourjan Marinas IGY – a leading industry provider for marinas and management services; Qatar Tourism Authority – which supervises the development of tourism in Qatar; Qatar Marine Sports Federation; Qatar’s Ministry of the Interior; Katara Hospitality – the official hospitality sponsor; The Ritz-Carlton, Doha – the official hotel, Ali Bin Ali distributor of the watch Ulysse Nardin as the official watch, Qatar Airways – which is the official carrier for the Show; Mannai Marine as a Gold sponsor, BCC – the official freight forwarder; AIG as the official insurance, ‘World of Yachts and Boats’ – the Show’s official magazine; ‘Sur La Terre’ – the Show’s lifestyle partner; and Al Kass TV – the official media partner and Kuluna programme for prevention and safety in the sea, founded by Hamad Medical Centre and Conoco Philips.