Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) has announced the postponement of the Dubai International Boat Show (DIBS) that was scheduled to take place next week to November 24-28, 2020. It was originally due to be held from March 10-14.
In a statement, the organisers cite concern about the number of overseas participants and visitors, given global travel issues. “In light of the evolving global developments around the COVID-19 virus, Dubai World Trade Centre has been closely monitoring the situation. Whilst the UAE remains completely safe for travel, and has deployed the strictest medical and hygiene protocols, we fully recognise that for some specific shows, we have a high majority of key participants significant to the event’s programme that are unable to travel due to restrictions in their home country. We continue to focus on prioritising the delivery of a strong international participation in these extraordinary times.”
IBI News obtained initial reactions from two key DIBS exhibitors. Abeer Al Shaali, acting CEO of Gulf Craft, a long-term supporter of the show, said: “Gulf Craft, the largest exhibitor at DIBS and based in the UAE, is delighted that the boat show’s new dates will coincide with the nation’s most awaited celebrations, the Expo Dubai 2020 in November this year. It is a great opportunity for Gulf Craft to present our future vision as a home-grown superyacht brand in the UAE to the many thousands of visitors expected to support the new show dates as well as the Expo 2020.”
Kiran Haslam, chief marketing officer of Princess Yachts, a key exhibitor at DIBS, said: “The marine leisure industry has a very unique B2C culture and consequently boat shows are a very important aspect of our marketing; we spend 70% of our marketing budget on them.
“Dubai next week was going to be an important event for us with three new product launches and our largest display ever, so it’s a big hit for us. Having said that, we fully support the organiser’s decision to postpone the event to November, given the current global concerns about travel.
“On a company level, we can see indications that the market is tightening from the demand side. From the supply side, we are quite self-sufficient with seemingly little direct exposure to components from Asia – but we are unsure when that will actually hit our supply chain, and consequently us.
“The industry should pull together in these difficult times. The postponement of the shows in Asia and the Middle East needs to be supported. Of some concern is how the situation will affect the key shows in Europe in September and October.”
In confirming the new dates, DWTC said: “The Dubai International Boat Show will be postponed from 10-14 March to 24-28 November 2020 and will be located at its new home – Dubai Harbour, the region’s largest luxury marina and most advanced cruise terminal. Our decision comes after much deliberation in consultation with the event’s main industry stakeholders and partners, who have strongly endorsed our prioritisation of the collective interests of both the global exhibitors and the key buyers from the region.
“With the event now rescheduled, the Dubai International Boat Show shall operate at full capacity and will also coincide with this year’s most highly anticipated global event – Expo Dubai 2020, enabling even greater and more inclusive access for all.”
IBI spoke this morning with Captain Tony Crabbe from the organisers of the International Superyacht Summit, also scheduled for next week. “We have reached out to our delegates, supporters and sponsors in order to gauge the level of support for continuing the event,” he said. “A decision will be reached within two days.”
With the level of infections at a relatively low level in the UAE, the event may well still proceed given the number of conference delegates are in the low hundreds.