Visitors at the Abu Dhabi International boat show that opened at ADNEC on Wednesday. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The inaugural edition of the Abu Dhabi International Boat Show (ADIBS) kicked off on Wednesday with boat manufacturers expressing optimism about demand increasing due to the recovery in oil prices.

In the last few years, sales of some category of boats saw a dip due to low oil prices. With the uptick in oil prices, sales are expected to go up, top executives told Gulf News at the boat show in Abu Dhabi.

“We have seen a dip in certain sizes anywhere from 30 to 40 feet... anything beyond 80 feet we saw an increase. So for us, we did very good, but we do see demand increasing with the increase in oil prices,” said Ahmad Al Ameeri, chief executive officer of Seas and Deserts Group and official dealer for Azimut Yachts in the Gulf region.

Speaking about the trends in luxury yachts, he said sizes are increasing and coming with new features.

“Yachts are becoming more exciting with new designs and models. People tend to spend more time on yachts than before,” he said.

Azimut Yachts, one of the world’s leading luxury yachts manufacturers with seven offices in the Middle East, including the UAE, made its debut at the Abu Dhabi International Boat Show.

The Azimut Yachts collection has the widest product range in the world, with sizes ranging from 10 metres to 35 metres, he added.

Gregory Yeakle, chief executive officer of Ajman-based Gulf Craft also expressed optimism about demand going up due to rise in oil prices.

“We sell worldwide with Gulf being the primary market. We just reinforced our presence in Europe,” he said adding that 70 per cent of their boats are exported.

The company is involved in the manufacture of touring boats, leisure cruises, adventure lines and luxury yachts, among others.

When asked on how many boats they manufacture annually, he did not give a specific figure but said it would be in the hundreds.

“Our strategy in three to five years is three fold, the first is around growth and it addresses growth for all five brands by creating separate demand organisations. Each brand becomes a vector of growth and we had a strong uplift in orders,” Yeakle said.

Gulf Craft has manufacturing facilities in Ajman as well as in Umm Al Quwain. The company also has a production facility in Maldives.

The company’s clients range from a passionate fisherman to businessman and royals.

“We already have a quasi-global coverage. You will see announcements throughout the year how we are reinforcing distribution partnerships and service centres around the globe. There will be expansion geographically and in product lines. We are also focusing on quality in all our products,” he added.

According to a statement from the organisers, 270 companies from 25 countries including the UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Italy. Japan, German, France, Spain and the US are participating in the event. Dozens of boats are put on display at Adnec marina, the venue of the show.