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.
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.