Dubai: The marine industry in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries was valued at $800 million (Dh2.94 billion) in 2016, but growth will be marginal this year, Gregor R. Stinner, CEO of Art Marine, told Gulf News.

“Educated clients are looking for the latest technology, appeal, design and quality and above all, resale value when buying a boat. It is a maturing market,” he said.

The company sealed deals worth €15 million (Dh58.48 million) at the show last year and expects to sign €13 million this year. Art Marine is a 100 per cent-owned portfolio company of The Abraaj Group.

“We delivered boats worth €44 million last year and have an order intake for €32 million so far this year. Our target for this year is €60 million,” he said.

Today, in the UAE alone, he said that there are around 5,000 berths existing at the moment, with Art Marine managing around 1,000 of them.

Erwin Bamps, CEO of Gulf Craft, said that the industry is expected to see an uptake in luxury yachts in the latter half of 2017 on a global scale but in the region, it is very optimistic looking forward due to the announcement of the Dubai Harbour, the continuing progress on the Deira Islands development and the opening of the Dubai Canal, as it will create more berths.

“The marine life is linked to so many factors and not only economical. The number of people living [on] the waterfront is still increasing. Most of the property launches in the UAE are centred on waterfront and that can only lead to growth opportunities,” he said.

Gulf Craft signed deals worth $22 million deals at last year’s boat show. The largest boat at the show is valued at Dh88 million by Gulf Craft.