Qatar’s growing economic prosperity and a rising middle class are redefining the country’s consumption pattern and has led to a change in people’s preferences for luxury and leisure activities. Blessed with huge purchasing power, the rich and the middle class are shifting from ‘experiencing’ a luxury product to ‘owning’ it. As a result, the local yacht market is witnessing a boom.
The super luxury pleasure sails, once limited to Qatar’s crème de la crème, is fast catching up with the middle class. The new trend is creating a great movement in the yacht market, which was a rather dormant sector until recently when compared with the neighbouring countries. “Yacht has become a new symbol of social status. It is redefining the life of Qatari middle class,” market sources say.
Market operators report an unprecedented increase in new orders and a steady rise in enquiries. Gulf Craft, a leading player in the GCC’s yacht market, told The Peninsula that it has just completed the hiring of 200 employees for their production department to ensure a smooth delivery of new orders.
“Qatar’s waters are now not simply meant for fishing and transportation. It has become a very active space for yachting, boating and leisure sports,” says Erwin Bamps, Chief Operating Officer of Gulf Craft. Qatari customers have huge purchasing power. They are fairly young and are ready to spend. And the banks are liberal in their lending policies.
“The pleasure craft industry has grown considerably in the past two years in the country. We are getting an unprecedented response from different sections of the society. But for me, Qatar is still a growing market. It has immense potential to grow. Luxury sail is going to explode in countries like Qatar,” Erwin said.
There are a few other factors which have contributed to a rise in pleasure cruises. Qatar being a small country, people are exploring new avenues for leisure, and being a peninsula, it has a huge, sprawling coastline, which provides ample opportunities for people to venture into the sea. The climate is also very propitious for water sports and leisure. The azure blue waters are tempting and provide a comfortable, peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The boats and yachts are used for a variety of purposes, ranging from a simple family trip to business parties after deals are struck. As Qatar prepares to host the 2022 World Cup, the country is witnessing an economic boom, with several new projects being planned and hundreds of international companies queuing up to enter the local market through partnership with local companies. Any growth in the economy leads to a growth in the leisure market too.
source: The Peninsula
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