Dubai: The 18th edition of the Dubai International Boat Show was launched by Shaikh Maktoum Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, as exhibitors hoped for some buoyancy in the market.
Helal Saeed Al Merri, chief executive of Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of the show, said: "The show provides remarkable business opportunities as we see the momentum move towards recovery and an increase in consumer confidence.
"This year there will be many great deals available from some of the world's top leisure marine companies."
With about 400 boats on display from international manufacturers, the show features 15 exclusive global launches and 25 regional launches.
The yacht market was expanding very fast three years ago, but saw a significant downturn following the global financial crisis, according to Maciej Stompor, sales director for Sunreef Yachts, a Polish boat-builder participating in the boat show for the fifth year.
He, however, added: "This area will be the most popular boating destination in the region. Dubai is the hotspot for the boating industry in the region."
Specialising in catamarans, a multi-hulled boat, Sunreef Yachts sold two boats in previous editions of the show and is looking to close a deal on another during this year's edition.
"One sale would definitely fulfil our purpose. It is a reasonable expectation with the current change in market," he said.
Gary Slaney, head of international sales for the Egypt-based Shama Yacht company, said he feels "bullish" about what could transpire from this market as it begins to turn the tide.
"From our perspective, the downturn is over. We're looking ahead now."
Though the company does not have a yacht on display, considered paramount to attract serious buyers, it believes it can reach a new market and international visitors from Dubai.
He said the company finds it much easier to take yachts to shows in Europe, but faces significant risks in bringing them to the Gulf from its home base.
"It is dangerous, logistically speaking to sail with a yacht around this area," he said referring to the threat of piracy. On the other hand, to bring the yacht to the show on another ship would involve costs of $40,000 to $50,000."