Growth on the cards for Singapore Yacht Show

Singapore Yacht Show … expect an on-water display twice as large as last year’s

THE Dubai International Boat Show, which took place last month in Dubai, UAE, might seem perfectly placed to attract the rich and famous wishing to flash their cash on beautiful yachts.

But there is a new kid on the block who is threatening to steal the show.

The Singapore Yacht Show, due to be held this month (April 10 to 13) during Singapore Maritime Week, is attracting world-class brands to consolidate its position as Asia’s premier industry event.

The show is only in its fourth year, compared to the 22 years that the Dubai show has been running. However, its growth is impressive: the on-water display will be twice as large as last year, with a greater number of superyachts and boats totalling an expected 100 vessels, and valued at hundreds of millions of dollars. More than 11,000 unique visitors attended in 2013, and a sharp growth is expected this year.

However, Singapore has a long way to go to compete on the scale of the Dubai’s show, which is held at the Dubai International Marine Club, Mina Seyahi. It is the Middle East’s largest marine leisure exhibition, with 430 boats on display, and more than 26,000 international and local visitors. Demonstrating the region’s growing maritime market, this year it attracted 750 exhibitors, a 20 per cent increase in new exhibitors compared to 2013.

Saeed Hareb, vice-president, Dubai International Marine Club and senior advisor, Dubai International Boat Show, said: “Dubai is set to become the world’s leisure maritime capital, thanks to modern marina facilities, strong maritime tourism infrastructure, and increasingly knowledgeable boat-buying customers. Dubai is cementing its status as a hub for mega events and making a major impact on the leisure maritime market, with millions of visitors wanting to experience the UAE from the water.”

Highlights at the Dubai show included two of the largest superyachts in the history of the Dubai International Boat Show; the 88.5-m Nirvana and 8-m Quattroelle.

Both the Singapore and Dubai shows cater for visitors interested in the wider luxury lifestyle with displays of supercars, jewellery, fashion and fine art.

Singapore now holds the title of the most expensive city in the world and WealthInsight ranks it as the third highest city in the world for resident multi-millionaires. The 2014 Forbes billionaire’s list identifies 16 Singaporean billionaires amassing a wealth of $45 billion, compared to the four Emiratis, with a wealth of $14.6 billion and seven Saudis, with a wealth of $49 billion.

Phil Blake, the event manager at the Singapore Yacht Show, and previously the general manager of Dubai Marina Yacht Club, said: “Both the Middle Eastern and Asian markets are new, but increasingly looking to spend their disposable incomes on luxury lifestyle items. I think what makes Singapore interesting is that it’s right in the middle of a major cruising route, which is becoming increasingly popular during the European winter.

He added: “We’ve definitely seen many more people in Singapore become interested in yachting, and in particular in the luxury market, which corresponds to the rising wealth in the region, the greater emphasis on leisure, and the desire to own the ultimate luxury leisure accessory.”

Blake insists, however, that Singapore is not a Dubai competitor: “Whilst the shows are at a similar time of year and cater to a similar demographic, they are not competing. Last year there were a number of visitors from the UAE at the show, and it is convenient for yachts who exhibit there to cruise across to Singapore in time for this event.”

Highlights of the Singapore show will include a debut by Simpson Marine’s Lagoon 52 cruising catamaran and The Royal Albatross, a tall ship refurbished with a superyacht interior.

Andy Treadwell, managing director of organiser Singapore Yacht Events, said: “The show has grown tremendously over the four years since we started, practically doubling in size at each edition.”

By Helen McClure