Dubai is seeking to become a global capital for luxury yacht marinas following the signing of a joint venture with the operator of the largest chain of marinas in the Eastern Mediterranean.
In partnership with Dubai Holding, Meraas on Tuesday announced that it has signed an agreement with D-Marin to attract international investments in the yacht sector and to promote Dubai as the preferred destination for luxury yachting and boating internationally.
The joint venture agreement was signed by Abdulla Al Habbai, group chairman of Meraas and chairman of Dubai Holding, and Ferit Şahenk, chairman of the Doğuş Group, the parent company of D-Marin.
The newly established joint venture will manage and operate the existing and future marinas being developed by Meraas and Dubai Holding, including marinas in Port de la Mer, Dubai Harbour and Jumeirah Beach Hotel.
The partnership seeks to also establish a regional centre with global standard for renovation, service and maintenance of luxury yachts and boats in Dubai, similar to D-Marin backed MB92, which is currently serviced by branches in Barcelona, Spain and La Ciotat, France.
It also includes long-term provisions for the development of additional marina lifestyle offerings through a broader ecosystem of services and investments that extend into other sectors in the Middle East and Far East regions.
With the completion of Dubai Harbour, Meraas will own and operate the largest marina in the Middle East and North Africa with 1,100 berths, doubling the berths available in the UAE.
Al Habbai said: “This agreement will contribute to attracting new foreign investment to Dubai, which has high rates of direct investment growth in high value sectors.
“Dubai has attractive comparative advantages in the marina sector due to the UAE’s long-standing maritime heritage. This strategic agreement with D-Marin will harness the combined expertise to develop marinas facilities and services and provide infrastructure, as well as enhance Dubai’s presence and status as a favourite destination for yacht owners and users around the world.”
The partnership aims to provide world class services to boat and yacht owners and users around the world and to create a calendar of marine activities, boat races and other marine events, contributing to strengthening Dubai’s position as a global hub for this sector.
Şahenk said: “Through this partnership and our regional centre in Dubai, we will invest in the long-term potential of this city and look forward to taking advantage of opportunities in the management and development of marinas in the GCC region.”
The total value of the maritime sector in the UAE is expected to reach about $66 billion by end-2018, while the value of the recreational boat industry ranges between $1.3-$1.5 billion. The UAE ranks ninth in the world confirming its leading position in the leisure maritime sector with the build of 14 new luxury yacht projects with a combined length of 611 metres being manufactured locally this year.
The GCC and the Middle East is a major market for luxury yachts with 205 luxury yachts requiring a berthing length of more than 40 meters, representing 13 percent of the world’s yacht fleet.