ALL ABOARD

As Qatar puts the fi­nal touches to its sec­ond In­ter­na­tional Boat Show, Qatar To­day catches up with the or­gan­is­ers who are go­ing full steam ahead.

Qatar Today - - CULTURE > DOHA DIARY - BY ABI­GAIL MATHIAS

In keep­ing with the no­tice­able drop in tem­per­a­tures, one is tempted to spend more time out­doors – a fit­ting time to set sail on the high seas. Doha's in­ter­na­tional boat­ing event will be held this year from Novem­ber 11-15 at the Lu­sail Ma­rina. In only its sec­ond year, QIBS has gar­nered sig­nif­i­cant at­ten­tion. This year's show will see a to­tal of 65 ex­hibitors from 16 coun­tries.

The or­gan­is­ers claim that last year's event man­aged to gen­er­ate a size­able num­ber of sales. Ten boats were sold at a value of QR100 mil­lion. While that fig­ure seems ex­trav­a­gant, it is a mere drop in the ocean for the lux­ury seg­ment.

Viewed as a venue for se­ri­ous boat­ing en­thu­si­asts and in­dus­try ex­perts QBIS is a common plat­form for those in­volved in this seg­ment. Or­gan­is­ers state that more than 10,500 vis­i­tors fre­quented the event last year. “We are po­si­tion­ing the show as a premier yacht­ing life­style which showcases boats, yachts and lux­ury or in­no­va­tive mar­itime prod­ucts and ser­vices,” ex­plains Faysal Mikati, Vice Pres­i­dent at Snow Comms and the of­fi­cial spokesper­son of QBIS.

Boat­ing and pearl div­ing were once the main sea­far­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in Qatar. Ex­perts sug­gest that Qatar's mar­itime in­dus­try is on the cusp of ma­tu­rity. In this con­text an event of this kind seems well in place. Earn­ing a men­tion in the cal­en­dar of the In­ter­na­tional Boat In­dus­try (IBI) reaf­firms the po­si­tion this event re­ceives glob­ally.

Be­sides ac­cess to the lat­est and most so­phis­ti­cated boats that will be parked in the ma­rina, the hosts are plan­ning a num­ber of wa­ter sports dur­ing the five days of the event. There will also be a new sec­tion de­voted to other lux­ury prod­ucts and ser­vices such as cars and bikes. Qatar's Prime Min­is­ter, Ab­dul­lah bin Nasser bin Khal­ifa Al Thani, is ex­pected to in­au­gu­rate the event. The coun­try with the max­i­mum num­ber of par­tic­i­pants this year is Italy, “who last year had eight Ital­ian brands and are ex­pected to have the same num­ber this year as well,” con­firms Mikati.

A num­ber of evening en­ter­tain­ment and live shows are also planned at the venue. Some of the com­pa­nies par­tic­i­pat­ing in QBIS from its maiden event in­clude Palmer John­son and Hy­dra Sports from the US, Blohm and Voss from Ger­many, La­goon rep­re­sented by Tan Ser­vices from France, Pre­mare Amer from Italy, Esen Yachts and Kon­sept from Turkey.

At 92 feet in length, the Ital­ian brand, Grupo per Mare Amer Yachts, is ex­pected to dock the largest yacht of QBIS 2014. Another prom­i­nent par­tic­i­pant, Nak­i­lat Da­men Ship­yard, Qatar, is the only su­per yacht builder in Qatar – a joint ven­ture of two blue chip com­pa­nies: Qatari gas ship­per Nak­i­lat and Dutch ship­builder Da­men Ship­yards.

The line-up of ex­hibitors reads like a who's who in the mar­itime in­dus­try, says Mikati, adding, “We are still get­ting en­quiries from other po­ten­tial ex­hibitors for the show; and it seems news of the suc­cess of the first edi­tion of QIBS last year has fil­tered through the in­ter­na­tional boat­ing com­mu­nity and it's as if the whole of the in­dus­try is now mak­ing a bee­line for Qatar.”

THE EVENT SEES 51 IN­TER­NA­TIONAL EX­HIBITORS AND MORE THAN 250 BRANDS IN­CLUD­ING 12 MA­JOR IN­TER­NA­TIONAL SHIP­YARDS.

FAYSAL MIKATI Vice Pres­i­dent Snow Comms QBIS TAKES PLACE FROM 11-15 NOVEM­BER AT THE LU­SAIL MA­RINA LO­CATED IN LU­SAIL CITY. THE NEW UP­GRADED EX­HI­BI­TION AREA COM­PRISES SHOWS BOTH ON LAND AND IN THE WA­TER WITH 25,000 SQM OF WA­TER BASIN SUR­FACE, OVER 60 BOATS IN THE WA­TER, AND MORE THAN 10,000 SQM OF PAVIL­IONS AND OUT­DOOR AR­EAS, WITH OVER 100 EX­HIBITORS. QIBS 2014 OPEN­ING HOURS WILL BE FROM 3 TO 9.30PM. EN­TRY IS FREE.

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