Gulf Craft, with a total of 49 deliveries to date and 12 yachts expected to be delivered in 2017, contributed to 62 per cent of the Middle Eastern superyacht market in 2016*. CEO Erwin Bamps spoke to SuperyachtNews, to discuss the increasing strength of the superyacht industry in the region, as well as the changing consumer patterns seen at Gulf Craft.
In September 2016, Gulf Craft staked its claim in the larger end of the yacht sector, “We announced in September the 50m+ and we are moving ahead quite quickly; we are planning that in the next 12 months,” explains Bamps. This news was followed by news in early 2017 that Gulf Craft expects to have its first 60m built within the next four years.
The UAE and surrounding countries have been somewhat held back in the superyacht market by limited facilities for yachts, especially those above 30m. Bamps, however, cites the recent investment in ports and marinas, such as Port Rashid Marina, as an indication of a growing number of superyacht hubs in the region. As a reflection of this, Gulf Craft are committed to increasing their own facilities, for Gulf Craft vessels and others, “We have been investing in enhancing our own service capabilities, not only for our own product, but also increasingly third parties. We are setting up new facilities to build new yachts, and we are considering the facilities to function as service points for both Gulf Craft and non Gulf Craft owners.”
The success of the recent Dubai Boat Show indicates the continued interest in the region and yachting market. “The show for us is not just of regional importance. Our focus in the show is to address a global audience, because we have a different status than most of the other people exhibiting,” says Bamps. “I definitely consider Dubai Boat Show as one of the global boat shows that you can’t miss if you want to know what’s happening in yachting or boating on worldwide scale.”
In terms of the new build market on a broader level, Bamps sees a shift in owner values and priorities in their vessels. “People are stepping away from eccentric designs. They are far more focused on reliability, durability, endurance and long-range cruising capabilities.”
Interestingly, Bamps finds more and more owners approaching Gulf Craft who have charter at the forefront of their minds, “We can always see that there’s more and more demand for charters on the big yachts and therefore the cost of ownership is one of the biggest discussion points on the table.”
For Bamps, a business-centric approach to ownership could be the force to propel the new build market forward. “We are suffering in the industry a little bit, as people are not necessarily agreeing that it is a great time to buy a boat. What we see as a potential solution to this is people buying yachts and to put them in a corporate charter.”
This shift in the demands from owners means Bamps sees a positive outlook for Gulf Craft, and perhaps these changing attitudes will drive the successful yard’s order book to even greater heights in the years to come.
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Images courtesy of Gulf Craft.