By David Robinson
Based on exhibitor and visitor comments, the organisers of the 2nd Qatar International Boat Show, Snow Comms, have described the show as being a “resounding success”. An unspecified amount of business was done and the number of visitors rose over 14% from 10,500 in 2013 to 12,000 in 2014.
With over 90 exhibitors and 75 boats in the water and on land, QIBS 2014 has proved a success above expectations. While an audit of business done is still to be taken, it is known that local builder Halul Boats sold all six boats that it had at the show. Halul produces a range of high-quality FRP motorboats and is the largest builder of such craft in Qatar.
The largest yacht at the show was the 31m (101ft) Gulf Craft Majesty 101 followed by the 28m (82ft) Amer Yachts 92, the 27.5m (90ft) Behnemar 90 (27.5m), and the 27m (88ft) Al Omar Marine 88 (27m). There was also a wide range of smaller sports boats, day cruisers and others from local and regional builders which play an important part in the GCC market.
Exhibitors and a number of international yacht industry figures spoken to by SB were both impressed by the size of the show, the quality of visitors and the quality of the organisation of the event. Planning for the third edition is already underway and it will be held from November 10-14, 2015.
Essa Al Mannai, chairman of SnowComms, says that QIBS is not just a boat show held in Qatar but an event of national importance. “QIBS is a showcase for modern Qatar and its ambitions. It is being increasingly recognised around the world as a major shop window for boats and services in the maritime industry, especially in the Gulf region. The success of this past week’s show has without doubt reinforced our view that Qatar has carved out for itself in the international boat show circuit.”
Despite its small size the Qatar market has an active leisure marine sector and the current 1,200-plus marina berths in the country is being increased both by current projects under construction and others planned.