Providing us with an insight into the ever changing sands of the Gulf yachting market as well as their beautiful fleet of yachts, Erwin Bamps speaks to Ben Roberts of Superyachts.com about how Gulf Craft rose to the top of the chain and how the culture of the region has created such a rich heritage of yacht owners over the years.
How has Gulf Craft evolved since its inception?
"Gulf Craft has grown from a yacht and boat manufacturer that is dedicated to the region’s needs – by feeding into people’s aspirations for spending time on the water, be it for fishing or leisure with family and friends – to one that is fulfilling the ever-growing demand for luxury sea travel. Our wide range of vessels now include larger and more luxurious craft tailored to the individual needs and requirements of our clients.
However, we have not stopped at the Gulf coast. While we continue to transform the aspirations of our clients in the region into a tangible reality, we are simultaneously looking at an ever-wider horizon of clients beyond the borders of the Gulf. Over the years, we have gained the loyalty of customers in neighboring countries and across continents, amplifying our global presence. People not only appreciate the quality of our build, but also our unique hospitable approach to both the product and the client, engaging boat owners in the creation of their craft for a truly personalized vessel.
Today, we remain loyal in our commitment to make yachting and boating accessible to everyone through our wide range of innovative craft. We stay true to our objective of getting people out on the water as much as possible, and we are now recognized for our ability to create oceangoing superyachts with a high level of sophistication and finish. We are still dedicated to redefining the boating experience, and we continue to listen to our customers every day in our continuous efforts to enrich change and celebrate innovation in the landscape of the dynamic yachting and boating industry."
What is it about the UAE culture which marries itself so well with the superyacht lifestyle?
"First is simply the geographic location of the UAE. The people of this country have spent most of their lives living close to the water, and so the seafaring lifestyle is deeply rooted in their culture and history, and therefore their hearts.
The people of the UAE also have a genuine appreciation for the finer things in life, and there is a strong hospitality culture in which networking is key to a flourishing business. The superyacht offers a setting that is less formal than the office, but more formal than the home – the perfect environment for not only spending time with loved ones, but also a corporate gathering.
This combination of the UAE’s waterfront geographic setting, its hospitable cultural and social values, and, of course, the financial capacity of its people, is what makes the country a favourable market for the superyacht lifestyle."
How has the state of the market affected new build and brokerage activity in the region between 2009 and 2015?
"Speaking from experience, I truly believe that this market has proven to be more resilient than the global market when it comes to yachting. People have this lifestyle in their hearts – it is not seen as a luxury, or something they might only enjoy a couple of times over the summer, but an essential part of life. As much as they breathe, people want to be on the water, and that is why there is less discretion when it comes to spending on a superyacht in this part of the world.
In fact, we have witnessed an upturn in the last few years in terms of superyacht demand. We have seen a maturing demand in which clients are requesting larger yachts, so there are higher quality relationships and bigger yacht sales."
Where do you think other markets across the world stand in relation to the UAE?
"The UAE still has a limited number of berthing spaces, and is working hard to establish new boating destinations, from The World islands to the Dubai Canal. I therefore believe that what you see today in the UAE is only a fraction of the potential that lies ahead of us, and this is what makes this country and the Gulf so appealing – its promise, rather than its present day potential. When it comes to upcoming yachting destinations, I believe the UAE will be positioned at the top of the global list."
The Dubai Boat Show opened today, what can you tell us about the new Majesty 122 you’re launching?
"The Majesty 122 is our latest superyacht model that features a design concept that we originally introduced with the Majesty 105, which is “barrier-free living”. This means the superyacht enables guests to live in-between the outdoor and indoor environment, allowing them to experience the best of both worlds. With large windows, extended balconies, and sliding doors, you feel like you are in a luxurious loft overseeing the water. The entire setting feels flowy and breezy – it is about outdoor living stretched into the interior.
The Majesty 122 was inspired by both market growth and client needs, and about bringing guests into the yacht to experience an outdoor lifestyle. With unrivalled on-deck lounging areas a characterizing feature of this new craft, the Majesty 122 also allows yacht owners to host more friends and loved ones and share the “barrier-free living” experience. It not only feeds into the regional and global demand in the charter business for larger yachts, but also fulfils the requirement in the private market for spacious living.
The Majesty 122 provides yacht owners with the full capacity to entertain – featuring a fully equipped galley, five en-suite staterooms that can accommodate up to 10 guests, and a garage at the rear of the superyacht that can hold a tender and two three-seater watercrafts. And, of course, deep within the superyacht, behind the panels, lies the engine room with highly sophisticated technology. The Majesty 122 is truly one of the best oceangoing yachts that we have to offer."
How does it represent a change in the Gulf Craft fleet?
"It is not a change, but more an enhancement of what we are doing. It is an indication of our innovative capability to continue redefining the yachting experience, a representation of our growth and our philosophy in which we build crafts around the client and evolving market requirements by constantly thinking outside the box."
How important is the Dubai Boat Show to Gulf Craft’s overall annual sales activity?
"The Dubai International Boat Show is one of the key platforms for us to globally launch our creations, and in this way, it has a greater ripple effect on our activity for the rest of the year. It is the place where we not only unveil our new models, but also where we reconnect with our clients and share our new strategy with the world. The show is a starting point for sales activity for most of our new models, and it creates quite significant business for us in the upcoming months."
How is Gulf Craft expanding into 2015?
"The construction of our new world-class facility in Dubai Maritime City for the manufacturing of mega and superyachts will commence very soon. We are actively hiring new employees, and we have many new models not only being released at the Dubai International Boat Show, but also on the drawing board for launch later in 2015. We are making investments not only in the immediate short-term, but also in the long-term in our approach to fulfilling the evolving needs of the market.
We will continue to push the envelope and use our customer insights to inspire crafts that are built around their requirements. Based on the unwavering trust and enthusiasm that we continuously receive from our clientele, we believe that this is the right time for us to invest and make a difference in the yachting industry, both on a regional and global level."
See also http://www.superyachts.com/news/erwin-bamps-on-gulf-crafts-divergent-evolution-3700.htm