The more than 30-years-old DIMC Clubhouse will make way for a futuristic ‘Dubai Harbour’ in an attempt to boost new opportunities stimulating economic activity in the area. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: In the first half of September 2016, His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued a resolution forming a new board of directors for the Dubai International Marine Club (DIMC) with a three-year term.

The new board with Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum as president, and chaired by Ahmad Saeed Bin Meshar and Nasser Bin Habala as vice-chairman, has been entrusted with the task of taking DIMC into the future.

The board met earlier this week at the DIMC headquarters with members Huraiz Al Mur Mohammad Bin Huraiz, Mohammad Abdullah Hareb, Jamal Zaal Bin Krishan, Adnan Al Abbar and Ebrahim Sultan Al Haddad, to plot the next course of action for watersports in Dubai.

At the beginning of 2017, Shaikh Mohammad revealed details of the futuristic “Dubai Harbour” in an attempt to create new opportunities that stimulate economic activity in the area. This project will develop a waterfront destination that will stimulate fresh growth in the tourism sector, it was said.

The residential offerings of the project will include high and low-rise buildings, waterfront villas and houses along with a wide selection of retail outlets, restaurants and cafés.

The destination will also feature several hotels, one of which will offer an internal water station built under it — providing direct access to its facility for guests coming by sea.

The destination will also be home to ‘Dubai Lighthouse’.

Featuring a luxury hotel, the 135 metre structure will have an observation deck that offers 360 degree views. ‘Dubai Harbour’ will also offer a venue for events and exhibitions all year round with a special focus on maritime events.

These will complement the existing calendar of events hosted by the DIMC, while adventure seekers can enjoy a range of activities offered by Skydive Dubai.

The destination will also feature the largest shopping mall in the area, public services, a yacht club and offices.

Gulf News met with the DIMC board of directors as they planned to start an imminent shifting of their base to a new location down the Jumeirah coast within the next few months.

What sort of impact do you see with the launch of the new ‘Dubai Harbour’ project in the near future?

Ahmad Saeed Bin Meshar: Whatever is happening is due to the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The new project is in keeping with the strategic plan for Dubai. The most immediate effect will be that the DIMC will shift its operations to a new venue close to Dubai Canal further along the Jumeirah coast. The ‘Dubai Harbour’ project at Mina Seyahi is expected to be completed in another four years, but nothing will change for us at DIMC as we will continue pursuing watersports with the same enthusiasm and zeal.

The DIMC structure at Mina Seyahi (literally meaning ‘Port of Travellers’) has been here since its opening in 1986. Now, after more than three decades what sort of changes can we expect at this location?

A. The new luxury waterfront destination will be spread over 20 million sq feet (1.85 million square metres) and will include a 1,400-berth marina (compared to its current 291-berth marina) as well as a cruise ship port and terminal, a shopping mall covering 3.5 million sq feet, an events arena, luxurious residential buildings, hotels, offices, retail stores, public services, restaurants and cafés and ‘Dubai Lighthouse’. In addition, the master plan will integrate Skydive Dubai, the DIMC and Logo Island into a single community. To be developed in phases, the ‘Dubai Harbour’ project will be completed in four years once ground has been broken.

With the implementation of the new project will come the actual shifting of the DIMC at its temporary location further down along the Jumeirah coast. How do you think this shift will affect DIMC?

Honestly, I doubt watersport activities in Dubai will be affected just because we are shifting. The DIMC team remains the same. The only change will be a change in venue. That’s all. In fact, during the past couple of seasons, we have been using various locations along the Dubai coastline to organise our races. So that has given us versatility in organising events. At the moment, we are in the process of finalising a new calendar of watersports events for DIMC. We have sat down and deliberated on the events and I doubt any of our enthusiasm to promote watersports will lag just because we will be shifting. To us, sport is a tool for advertising ‘Brand Dubai’ and it is with this focus that we will not ring in any changes. In fact, we are looking at the tremendous impact a development like ‘Dubai Harbour’ can have on watersports not just in Dubai, but in the entire region.

What is the overall picture we can have of this part of Dubai once the project has been completed?

Our President Shaikh Mansour Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has always pushed us towards making the DIMC the best hub for watersports in the world. With this current facility we have been one of the best spots for watersports. But with the completion of the ‘Dubai Harbour’ project, we will truly be the best. All this fits in well with the way Dubai is moving. We don’t want to be just a sports hub, but we want to be there as a true destination for the entire family.

How do you intend achieving this?

To start with, we have a strategic plan in place, and we will be pursuing this plan in a very modern and scientific manner through the use of the latest technologies in the maritime field. The ultimate goal is to have a facility that is not only the best in the world, but also the most self-sustaining model that will earn and even make profits in the long run.