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Middle East’s wealthy leading superyacht market

The Middle East’s ultra-high net worth population is emerging as a leading market for superyachts, with almost half owning or currently looking to buy the luxury asset, according to an industry trade organisation.

Robert van Tol, operational director of the Superyacht Builders Association, said Western Europe and North America are the traditional major markets for superyachts over 40 metres, but when it came to the number of superyacht owners as a percentage of UHNW individuals, the company's new economic outlook revealed the Middle East came out on top.

He said their report, produced in association with Boston Consulting, revealed a ‘propensity to buy’ in the Middle East of 48% – higher than anywhere else in the world.

Next month the Dubai International Boat Show will be held in the United Arab Emirates, and the largest yacht in the world, Azzam, which is 180 metres long and has a top speed of 30 knots, hails from the region.

A further third of the world’s 200 largest superyachts have Middle Eastern owners, according to market analysis from Boat International.

Fourth generation German family business Lurssen, which built Azzam, says it will deliver three yachts between 66 and 104 metres to the Middle East in 2014.

The Middle East’s ultra-high net worth (UHNW) population is forecast to grow 58% in the decade up to 2022, according to Knight Frank, and the number of US dollar billionaires in the region is set to grow 45%.

This year is forecast to be the first since 2009 that there will be an increase in the number of superyacht builds, according to the ShowBoats International Global Order Book.

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