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The ultra-high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) represent the second-largest group of superyacht buyers, according to SYBAss statistics. The largest group is Eastern Europe.

According to the statistics, which appear in the 2016 SYBAss Annual Economic Report, 20% of MENA’s UHNWIs have bought superyachts over the past 15 years. SYBAss has publically released the figures for the first time to the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), organiser of the Dubai International Boat Show which will be held from February 28 to March 4, 2017.

The SYBAss statistics show that the MENA group is the second largest after Eastern Europe, where 46% of the region’s UHNWIs have purchased superyachts.

Dubai Boat showThe 25th edition of the Dubai International Boat Show at Dubai International Marine Club is one of only three boat shows endorsed by SYBAss, the others being the Monaco Yacht Show and the Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show. The impressive line-up of superyacht manufacturers appearing at the event this year will include SYBAss members Amels, Baglietto, Benetti, CRN, Feadship, Fincantieri, Heesen, Lürssen, Mondomarine and Oceanco.

The report notes that in 2015, UHNWIs from the MENA region owned 197 superyachts – 12% of the global superyacht fleet above 40m (131ft) in length. In the last five years, a further 60 superyachts had been added to those owned by MENA UHNWIs.

Delivered privately to SYBAss members at the General Assembly in Monaco last September, the report put the number of MENA region UHNWIs – households with a minimum of US$250m bankable assets – at 628 in 2015, an increase of 19 (3%) on the previous year.

This represents 6.5% of the total number of UHNWIs worldwide, with the biggest growth in 2015 seen in the Asia Pacific where the number of UHNWIs grew by 269 (15%) to 2,100. Overall, North America with 3,698 (38%) had the most UHNWIs, followed by Western Europe with 2,250 (23%).

“The SYBAss report underlines the importance of the MENA region to the superyacht industry, and at the same time highlights why the Dubai International Boat Show is among the world’s most significant boating events,” says Trixie LohMirmand, senior vice president, Events Management, Dubai World Trade Centre.

“The calibre of superyacht manufacturers that are represented at the show this year will undoubtedly pique interest and demand from the boat owners in the Middle East and the rest of the world, who are eagerly anticipating the latest launches from the industry,” she adds.