Gulf News

Winds of change in boating business

A shortage of marinas could limit growth in boat sales in the UAE. spoke to about the growth of the industry and its future.


Gulf News: How have the new waterfront developmen­ts changed the boat industry?

Gulf News Bamps: A lot of the waterfront developmen­ts are not finished yet but expectatio­ns are growing higher. People have already started ordering boats that they intend to use within the marina developmen­t or at their waterfront houses. More people who have waterfront villas are now looking for boats than they did in the past.

Gulf News: Is there a different lifestyle emerging? Bamps: People have not yet realised that they can do water sports and enjoy a marine lifestyle in their free time. A lot of people can afford boats in the UAE. They want to use boats for leisure, and it will happen in the UAE at some stage. There is a lot of commercial promotion going on to support this kind of lifestyle and we can see people reacting to it positively. Before boating is successful in any country, it requires marina developmen­ts. There are marinas in Saudi Arabia and they are half full at present but the lifestyle is not there. Gulf News: What is the corporate sector’s role in promoting such lifestyles? Bamps: Wherever boating is successful, you will see those places are also tourist destinatio­ns, be it Nice, Cannes, the Gold Coast or the Caribbean. Yachting influences the economy of a country tremendous­ly. Once the government regulators and investors join hands, as they are doing now in the Gulf, to develop boating as a business, it attracts even more business in areas like tourism and hospitalit­y. Gulf News: What is holding back the boat industry’s growth? Bamps: Physical infrastruc­ture is the main challenge. It is the facilities that have to be built around marinas. You can build marinas in a simple way, but it is not about just having a dockyard or pontoon. You have to build causeways, restaurant­s, there has to be the whole urban planning around marinas. So it is the infrastruc­ture that is limiting the developmen­t. Gulf News: What is the marina requiremen­t in the UAE? Bamps: Everything is full at the moment. There are about 13,000 boats in the country. People are talking about between 10,000 and 30,000 more boats. Once people know there are more marinas, they will buy boats. So whatever demand is there now will grow. In the UAE, one out of every 350 people owns a boat. Most of the people live around the coast in the UAE, and if you look at the similar residentia­l behaviour of people in countries like New Zealand and Australia, one out of 10 people has a boat. So there is a huge potential.

 ?? VAZHISOJAN/Gulf News ??

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