Through its expansion to the Middle East, Burgess will work with local partner SJM Group’s maritime division, chaired by a member of Dubai’s Ruling Family, to increase superyacht services in the UAE and to develop the maritime sector within the Gulf Cooperation Council region.
Spearheading the initiative is Jonathan Hind, who joins Burgess following four years as general manager of the Dubai Marina Yacht Club. “I’ve had the great opportunity to work in a sector of Dubai’s maritime industry for a number of years now and have seen the superyacht sector here grow and develop dramatically over this time,” he explains.
Burgess has been successful in securing a significant portfolio of Middle Eastern clients and has been involved in some important superyacht projects to come out of the Gulf region, so the opportunity to partner with a member of Dubai’s ruling family and establish a local presence seems a logical progression.
“It is hugely exciting to know that we are now established here in Dubai to bring our services to the region and better serve both existing and future clients,” adds Hind. “We will be working with our partner to combine the specific skills of our knowledgeable team with our local experience to provide the very best Burgess service and are greatly excited about the potential that exists here.”
Elaborating on this potential, Hind explains that there is clearly great enthusiasm for yachting in the region. “While we cannot ignore global conditions and potential turbulence in various parts of the world, increasing numbers of Middle Eastern clients are coming to appreciate the wonderful lifestyle that a yacht affords them,” he says.
“In conjunction with this, and of critical importance, Dubai is really committing to developing an infrastructure that proactively supports and encourages yachting. A region needs first class facilities for superyachting to really take off and in Dubai and its surroundings that is now becoming a reality.”
This infrastructure currently includes Dubai Marina Yacht Club, which is due to undergo extensive refurbishment in 2017, according to local media reports. The UAE Vice President and ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, has also just unveiled plans to build a new waterfront development, Dubai Harbour, to act as the Middle East's largest marina.
In terms of what Middle Eastern clients want, Hind believes that certain trends exist. “It’s no secret that a number of clients from this part of the world tend to travel with a sizeable entourage and as such those yachts that can accommodate more than the standard 12 guests are hugely popular,” he comments. Burgess currently has several large charter yachts located in the region in order to meet this demand, including Moonlight II and Saluzi.
“Moreover, it’s clear that there is a lot of exciting business activity in general taking place in Dubai, the Emirates and the wider GCC region, and a strong collective desire to make the region a hub of expertise and cutting edge development in a number of industries, of which the maritime industry is one element,” concludes Hind. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to play a part in all this development and to help foster a strong and dynamic maritime industry for Dubai and the Gulf region.”