Dubai – MENA Herald: Leading figures within the yacht manufacturing industry will outline their predictions for growth in the Middle East market, at the 10th Middle East Yachting Conference, to be held Monday, 29 February, ahead of Dubai International Boat Show.

Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss) Director of Operations, Robert van Tol, and Roberto Zambrini, CEO of Italian yacht builder Mondo Marine, will provide an overview and forecast of the regional superyacht market, as part of a panel discussion during the conference. A separate presentation by Udo Kleinitz, Secretary General of the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMA) will also discuss the importance of the Middle East within the global context.

“The 55 percent ‘propensity to buy’ for the Middle East is the highest of all the regions,” said Robert van Tol. “This percentage is based on historic ownership of superyachts versus the number of UHNWIs (ultra high net worth individuals) at that time, but it also means that if there is an increase in the number of UHNWIs in the Middle East, then 55 per cent of them are likely to buy a superyacht. Therefore this region will always remain very important.”

The annual Middle East Yachting Conference brings together global experts and industry authorities, as well as boating enthusiasts, to address the latest trends, technologies, plans and regulations affecting the marine leisure sector in Dubai and beyond. The theme for 2016 will be ‘Investing for the future, defining future strategies’. Topics for discussion include the region’s waterfront projects, maritime legislation and laws, the maritime community’s aspirations, and navigation at local and regional levels.

“Yachting has become an integral part of the luxury lifestyle in the Middle East, and it touches on many areas: manufacturing, sales, design, and has also had a significant influence on how cities in the region have grown, with so many large-scale sea front development projects planned,” said Nabeel Farhat, Editor in Chief of ‘Word of Yachts & Boats’ magazine, who will be moderating the panel discussion on superyachts. “The conference is an opportunity to discuss matters of market and lifestyle, and talk about the future of the industry, but also bring important issues such as rules and regulations into the conversation.”

High profile speakers will include representatives of Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA), the maritime regulatory body for Dubai; TASNEEF, the UAE’s marine classification society; the International Council of Marine Industry Associations; the Superyacht Builders’ Association (SYBAss); Dubai Offshore Sailing Club; and the UAE Sailing and Rowing Federation. John Leonida, Head of Global Super Yacht Law at international law firm Clyde and Co, will speak on legal best practice in superyacht purchase.

Conference sessions will include presentations in important regional issues, including from DCMA on the first-of-its-kind Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy, and from TASNEEF on marine classification systems in the UAE. The Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy guides the city’s growth as a leading global maritime centre, with the sector estimated to provide 4.6 percent of the city’s GDP and 3.3 percent of its employment.

“The maritime sector plays a pivotal role in Dubai’s sustainable economic development,” said Mohammed Al Bastaki, Director of DMCA’s Maritime Operations, who will speak on growth, sustainability and innovation. “The Middle East Yachting Conference is a platform where we can discuss existing regulations and policies, and best practices related to the maritime sector, with key figures in the marine leisure sector.”

The 10th Middle East Yachting Conference will take place on Monday, 29 February, at the Al Andalus Ballrom BC, Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa Autograph Collection, Dubai, from 9.30am-3.30pm. Media are welcome to attend.