The 2014 edition of the Qatar International Boat Show (QIBS) has once again exceeded everyone's expectations, according to Snow Comms, the organisers of the event.
The five day Show, which was held at Mourjan Marinas, Lusail City, from November 11th to 15th, under the auspices of HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, attracted more than 12,000 visitors and counting, who came to see over 90 exhibitors, with 75 boats on display.
QIBS 2014 was inaugurated by H.E. the Minister of Economy and Trade, Sheikh Ahmed Bin Jassim Bin Mohamed Al Thani and there was a large number of international exhibitors representing many of the top names in the maritime industry, including many repeat exhibitors from last year. Bookings reached full capacity, despite the show being double the size it was in 2013.
The new upgraded exhibition area comprised shows both on land and in the water with 10,000 square metres of water basin surface, and more than 15,000 square metres of pavilions and outdoor areas. For the first time, the entire marina promenade was used, together with a bigger dock area situated right in the heart of the exhibition (as opposed to one of the side docks that was used last year).
On the water were brands as celebrated as Azimut, Sea Ray, Princess, Ferreti, Riva, Gulf Craft, Sunseeker, Prestige, Itama, Al Shaali Marine, San Lorenzo, Benetti, Sunreef, Esen Yachts, Ares, Lagoon, Amer Yachts, Cranchi, Everglades and more.
Attracting a lot of attention was a luxury dhow, which was made in Qatar by Al Mannai Marine which has recently moved its manufacturing base to Al Ruwais shipyard. The 150 tonne dhow is 33m in length and incorporates the latest advancements in technology while maintaining the traditional look of a Qatari dhow.
As such, it is the very first of its kind in a luxury dhow category with yacht specifications. The entire build of this design takes about 2 years, and currently Al Mannai Marine has 6 dhows in production. Its exterior is made of solid teak wood, while the interiors have been designed and made in Italy. It contains five bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms of Onyx and marble, and the interior fit-out cost in excess of QR 2million ($550,000).
In addition to the luxury dhow, other large boats included a Gulf Craft Majesty 101 (31m in length); Amer Yachts 92 (28m long); Behnemar 90 (27.5m); Al Omar Marine 88 (27m); and Gulf Craft 88 (27m).
The largest boat on display was a 40-metre Floating House from Abu Dhabi-based Emirates Waves. It has six bedrooms, all with private bathrooms; two master living rooms, a cinema, an upper flybridge, outside platforms for dropping jetskis or small boats, and much more besides. With a top speed of 16 knots, it took 18 months to build and costs around QR12m.
Regional exhibitors included Al Badi Trading, Al Dar Marine, Alfardan Marine Services, Al Kashat, Al Mannai Marine, Al Omar Marine, Amwaj, Art Marine, Behnemar, Doha Yachting, Dolphin Marine, Domasco, Emirates Boats, Emirates Waves, Gulf Craft, Gulf Yachts, Halul Boats, Kaldari Marine, Kulluna, Marsa Marine, Masraf Al Rayan, Qatar Executive, Qatar Sub, Samawy Marine, Shrao Marine, Sika Qatar, Sora Marine, Speed Marine, Sunseeker M.E., Suprema Marine, United Marine Trading, XTL and YCO.
Other exhibitors of note included Lurssen and Blohm + Voss - the two largest shipbuilders in the world; Palmer Johnson, Tan Services, YCO and many more.
Ambassadors and trade and culture secretaries, were also much in evidence at QIBS 2014, including diplomats from the U.S.A., U.K., Italy, France, Germany, Canada, India, Egypt, Tunisia, Russia, Greece, China, Kuwait, Turkey, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Japan and Bulgaria.
In order to highlight Qatar's increasing role in the international maritime industry, members of the world's media were also taken on a tour of the Nakilat (NDSQ) shipyard, situated in Ras Laffan. The shipyard covers a total area of 58,000sqm and includes a massive ship construction hall (270m long x 65m wide x 45m high), which is capable of simultaneously accommodating four vessels completely undercover.
Essa Al Mannai, Chairman of SnowComms which organises QIBS, says that the Qatar International Boat Show 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."
Would-be sponsors, too, were clamouring to sign up for the Boat Show. Official sponsors included Masraf Al Rayan Bank as the Show's official bank sponsor; Ooredoo as official communications sponsor; Lusail City, Qatari Diar - the venue for QIBS; Murwab Hotel - the Show's official hospitality partner; Qatar Airways - the official carrier for the Show; Ulysse Nardin - the official time-keeper; Mourjan Marinas-Lusail City - a leading industry provider for marinas and management services; Al Mannai Marine and Marsa Marine, the Show's Gold and Bronze sponsors; 'World of Yachts and Boats' - the Show's official magazine; 'Sur La Terre' - the Show's lifestyle partner; QIC – The Official Insurance partner, SH Al Mana Infiniti – the official car, Nanotech – the Official Technology Partner, Roche Bobois:Tivoli Group – the VIP area furnishers, Amwaj – VIP area catering and 'Yachts XL' - the Show's official video partners.
As part of the closing ceremony, all the boats in the marina at Lusail sounded their horns for a full minute at 9pm