The demand for luxury boats in Qatar continues to increase due to the growing interest of Qataris for on-water living and experiences, a senior official of Al Mannai Events, organiser of the annual Qatar International Boat Show (QIBS) said on Thursday.
“Qataris who live on a peninsula have an innate love of the sea,” chairman Khalid Eisa Sh K al-Mannai told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the QIBS.
While owning a yacht belongs to a wealthy segment of the Qatari population, he noted that even a simple house owned by a Qatari has at least a small boat in it.
Al-Mannai said that Qataris, especially the young ones, are very much in love with sea activities, a reason for Al Mannai Events to hold side activities in this year’s edition of QIBS.
The boat show organised kayaking activities on Thursday while fishing aficionados will have the opportunity to join other participants on Friday as part of the boat show held at the Lusail City.
“The smell of the sea makes us happy, we cannot live unless we are around it, and it runs in our blood. Our history is related to the waters,” the official stressed.
"A strong purchasing power and a growing population also contribute to the rising demand for luxury boats in the country," he said.
Citing Boston Consulting Group’s report, ‘Global Wealth 2016: Navigating the New Client Landscape,’ leading luxury yacht builder Gulf Craft said in a statement that private wealth in Qatar will increase from $0.3tn to $0.4tn by 2020.
The report added that private wealth held by ultra-high-net-worth households – those with above $100mn – in Qatar is expected to grow by an impressive 14.5% in the next five years.
Despite “a slight slowdown” last year (due to the oil price slump), al-Mannai said the increasing opportunities for Qataris in both public and private sectors, a priority in the Qatar National Vision 2030, will sustain the increasing demand for luxury yachts in the coming years.
This year, the official noted a 15% increase in the number of Qatari staff employed at QIBS.
“We enhance their skills, train them on budgeting, planning, public relations, teach them some techniques on problem solving and how to handle events like this, among others,” he said.
Qataris’ passion for boats also inspired them to produce their own – a luxury dhow which was featured in previous editions of QIBS.
“They now build boats, as well as tools for fishing. This is a new trend, and the government, we ourselves encourage this kind of endeavour,” al-Mannai stressed.
About the event, he expressed confidence that QIBS will further expand, and feature new yachts in the next editions.
He believes that the boat show has been adding value to Qatar’s tourism sector as it attracts an increasing number of visitors and participants from neighbouring GCC states and countries from other regions.
Visitors have the opportunity to view an array of luxury yachts from around the world, including the €80mn super yacht ‘Silver Fast,’ which is equipped with several features such as spa, salon, helipad, and other amenities.
QIBS’16 continues until December 10 and runs from 2:30 pm to 9:30pm.