Saif Al Rahbi, MB92 Group Business Development, joined the group in August 2021 to provide expert local support to our clients and build new relationships as demand for our services continues to grow across the Middle East. As we approach the latest edition of the Gulf Superyacht Summit, we took a moment to sit down with Saif to talk about what makes this region so special for superyachting and the enormous potential for the future
In your experience, what have been the most important developments in the gulf region in the last decades?
I think that the rise in urban population and the consolidation of the region as a popular tourist destination have contributed to increased investment in the leisure sector. The number of UHNWIs (individuals with $30 million or over in assets) has also increased, with current trends predicting further growth in the next few years – nearly 25%, and 36% for billionaires by 2025 according to Knight Frank’s 2021 Wealth Report.
This has led to the development of infrastructure such as marinas and in manufacturing to support demand as well as confirmation that the yacht industry is a lucrative investment opportunity alongside areas such as commercial real estate.
Our role must be to continue to work proactively to satisfy current and future owner needs in the area
The international superyacht community now regularly visits the region as summits, regattas and shows have become fixtures on the superyacht calendar. Couple this with major cultural and sporting events such as the World Cup and Formula One, and it is clear to see why superyacht owners and services recognise such potential for the future.
What do you consider to be the main attractions for superyacht owners in the region?
As a charter destination which bridges east and west, the region boasts ideal weather and sailing conditions from September to May making it a genuine alternative to the Caribbean. As stated above, the combination of investment growth and the emergence of the region as an international cultural and sporting destination, are very attractive propositions for owners deciding where to enjoy their time on board and ashore.
In what areas do you think the industry can take advantage of the opportunities the region offers?
We are seeing that there is less exposure to high inflation, which would lead us to recognise that there is more stability than we thought in the past, providing greater confidence for investors.
The demographics of the region are changing, with more young people to reinforce the talent pool and stay in the area for career opportunities in technology, engineering and leisure industries. We are in an industry that is expected to require a significant increase in human resources in the coming years in all sectors, so this is a vital asset.
What are your hopes and expectations for the future of the industry in the region?
We certainly need more specialised facilities such as dry docks/shiplifts to support owners who need to haul out their yachts for work. Also, the development of a robust supply chain infrastructure is important.
Ultimately, I believe that the future is bright. Our role must be to continue to work proactively to satisfy current and future owner needs in the area. This will not only attract owners to an exciting cruising destination but also encourage further investment and help retain essential talent.