With the massive increase of waterside developments and the rapid expansion of dive and water sports companies setting up in the region, the Middle East is increasing its popularity as a venue for marine-related leisure activities, according to experts.
As the largest diving exhibition in the region, Dive Middle East Exhibition (DMEX), which is running alongside the 23rd Dubai International Boat Show from 3 – 7 March at Dubai International Marine Club – Mina Seyahi, serves as an ideal meeting place for UAE and international diving industry players. DMEX is a forum to promote the latest in diving equipment, services and techniques for a fast growing industry.
“There has been a constant growth in marine tourism, especially diving, and a recent boom in the number of divers in the UAE. We have seen more interest from both experienced and novice divers in the past years who are more engaged in the UAE’s reef and marine life. These divers see diving as more than a sport, it has become a lifestyle, and we expect to continue to see growth in the years ahead,” said Ibrahim Al Zu’bi, Executive Director, Emirates Diving Association.
“We’ve been pleased to record a significant growth in our member numbers - doubling over the last five years - and as the region continues to develop in interest and maturity, this is only going to increase,” Al Zu’bi added.
Highlights of DMEX, supported by Emirates Diving Association (EDA), include live and interactive presentations, first hand access to the latest diving techniques and skills, and interactive demonstrations by qualified instructors in the DMEX pool.
“PADI exhibited very successfully at DMEX in 2014 and our members were so thrilled that we decided to come back bigger in 2015 to engage non-divers to sign up for diving courses and also re-engage with divers to seek higher certifications and take up diving adventures that some of our dive centres offer,” said Erika Hoffman, Manager, Shows and Events, PADI Europe, Middle East and Africa.
PADI has issued more than 154,000 diver certifications from 2004 – 2013 within GCC countries, and has 2,550 professional members across the Middle East.
Return exhibitor Atlantis, The Palm will be featuring its newest diving experiences that take place at The Ambassador Lagoon, home to 65,000 marine animals, while new products are expected to be unveiled from worldwide leaders in scuba and dicing equipment Oceanic, Hollis, and Intova through local distributor, Premiers for Equipment. Al Boom Diving, boasting the biggest team of instructors in the country, also returns to DMEX
First time participant Sea Safari Cruises, specialised in leisure expeditions cruises in Bali, will also be promoting their diving cruises, using DMEX as a platform to capture the growing Middle East diving market.
Show’s Newest Feature in Response to Growing Demand - DIBS Water Sports
Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) recently launched a USD 20 million ‘See you in Dubai’ campaign in November 2014 to draw attention to attractions that include water sports and beaches, showcasing the city’s unique position as a water sports hub in the region.
The UAE in particular is seen as an attractive hub for divers, offering a wide range of dive sites around its coasts, and a base of operations for diving tours in the region. The ongoing development of new and existing projects The Canal, and the AED6 billion mega-island Bluewaters Island near Jumeirah Beach Residence will further stimulate the creation of water sport companies.
To cater to an audience continuing to seek new features, Dubai World Trade Centre, organiser of Dubai International Boat Show, has added DIBS Water Sports to its exciting new line up. The feature is a new show zone dedicated to all related water activities, from kayaking, canoeing, jet skiing, and paddle boarding to surfing, kite surfing, and wind surfing, with a dedicated testing pool for water sports enthusiasts.
“Over the past two years that we’ve operated in the UAE we’ve seen that people are looking to participate in new and fun watersports activities, but most of all that they are affordable and not simply a ‘one-off’. Kayaking, paddleboarding and now even windsurfing are becoming so popular because they’re very affordable through hourly or daily renting. Watersports are so popular, in fact, that we’ve even set up free-to-enter paddleboarding and windsurfing competitions where all the equipment is provided, and racers can just turn up and race, and dedicated enthusiasts can easily buy top-of-the-range products right here in the country,” said Sterenn Bourges, General Manager of Seayou, a Dubai-based non-motorised watersports company and return exhibitor to the show.
Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President of DWTC, agrees: “The Middle East continues to be a key growth market, where an increasing number of water sport enthusiasts reside. Having leading events like DMEX run alongside the Dubai International Boat Show, as well as providing new features like DIBS Water Sports, is a step towards reaching our goal to promote the UAE and the rest of the Middle East as one of the world’s leading hubs for marine leisure activity,” LohMirmand said.
The 23rd Dubai International Boat Show at Dubai International Marine Club - Mina Seyahi is open to trade visitors and the general public from 3pm – 9.30pm daily from 3-7 March 2015.