The rise of the Middle East Superyacht market

The rise of the Middle East Superyacht market

The Middle East superyacht market is growing as Arab nations continue to draw the world's wealthiest individuals to their shores. The region is also becoming increasingly accessible, with regulations easing and continued investment in its yachting infrastructure. Furthermore, the Middle East's strategic location means that it is increasingly being used as a yachting hub for those wishing to explore destinations further East, including the Maldives, Indonesia, and Thailand.

Middle East superyacht market growth

Middle East superyacht market

The United Arab Emirates remains the central Middle East superyacht market hub, focused on Dubai and Abu Dhabi. The UAE's strategic location, tax-free environment, modern marinas, luxury offerings, and a growing roster of world-class events continue to draw the superyacht crowd. Other emerging states include Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Saudi Arabia, for example, recently relaxed its regulations for entry with the aim of opening up Saudi waters to luxury yachts, and the country is investing heavily in its superyacht infrastructure. The recently opened Jeddah Yacht Club and Marina, for example, has already established itself as a world-class yachting hub, with the ability to accommodate more than 100 yachts up to 120 metres. Saudi Arabia is also developing a series of luxury coastal havens, such as NEOM's Sindalah island, an ultra-exclusive island getaway accessible only by boat that will offer limitless levels of luxury, and AMAALA, the world's first integrated family wellness destination. Furthermore, yachting events, such as the recently held America's Cup preliminary regattas, further cement Saudi’s position.


Qatar's growing interest in the marine industry has also seen it become a rising player in the Middle East's superyacht market. The country's prosperous economy and high-income levels are helping fuel the market, while strategic yachting events are further helping to seal its position. Qatar has also developed a series of ultra-luxury marinas, including Porto Arabia in Doha and the spectacular The Pearl, a Riviera-style man-mad island boasting three marinas and a total of 891 berths.

Key Middle East superyacht events

As the region continues to grow as a central yachting hub, Middle Eastern countries are now hosting world-class superyacht events. Some of the top Middle East superyacht events include:

Gulf Superyacht Summit

Previously known as The International Superyacht Summit, this two-day summit is held annually in November and seeks to inform, assist, and advise yachting clients and industry providers with the goal of developing the Gulf region as a luxury yacht winter destination. The summit regularly attracts yachting powerhouses, including leading shipyards, yacht management companies, and brokerages. The recently held 2023 November Gulf Superyacht Summit in Abu Dhabi, for example, attracted sponsors such as Oceanco, Gulf Craft, Lurssen, Sunreef Yachts, Royal Yachts, Moravia Yachting, and Hill Robinson.

Dubai International Boat Show

The Dubai International Boat Show is the Middle East's biggest luxury marine lifestyle event. Founded in 1992 as a modest event, DIBS has grown in status, reflecting the rise of Dubai as a key Middle East superyacht market. Today, attendees can view some of the world's finest superyachts and peruse luxury goods, from aviation to supercars and high-end fashion. The event typically attracts over 30,000 visitors, 1,000 exhibitors, and more than 200 boats displayed both on land and on the water.

Abu Dhabi International Boat Show

This superb boat show is a celebration of life on the water. It is held annually at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre's marina, with the ability to host indoor and outdoor events. The boat show spans three action-packed days, providing the ideal platform to view the latest luxury yachts and water toys and meet with industry-leading yacht service providers.

Formula 1 Grand Prix Abu Dhabi

While not strictly a superyacht event, the Abu Dhabi Formula 1 Grand Prix draws the superyacht crowd. Since its debut in 2009, the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has helped cement the emirate as a superyacht destination. The event takes place annually on the stunning Yas Island, on a specially designed track by architect Hermann Tike, and, in addition to the Monaco Grand Prix, is the only F1 to boast trackside berths.

Jeddah GP

Jeddah Yacht ClubImage courtesy of Jeddah Yacht Club

Another Middle East Grand Prix event is the Jeddah GP in Saudia Arabia. The event was first held in 2021 and quickly gained attention from yachting enthusiasts.  The race track is just moments away from the newly opened Jeddah Yacht Club Marina, which boasts berthing for over 100 yachts, offering a convenient destination for yacht owners and charterers to immerse themselves in this spectacular event.

There's no question that the Middle East superyacht market is going from strength to strength. Those in the yacht industry would be wise to keep an eye on this emerging yachting hotspot.