Dubai set to become a global capital for luxury yachts marinas

  • Meraas and Dubai Holding partner with D-Marin to manage world-class marinas in Dubai
  • Agreement seeks to attract new global investments and increase marina sector’s contribution to promoting UAE’s sustainable tourism growth and GDP
  • Create a regional hub in Dubai to meet increasing demand for marina development and management in the GCC region
  • Identify marina development and management opportunities in the Middle East and Far East regions
  • Once operational, the marina at Dubai Harbour will double the number of berths available in the UAE
  • Abdulla Al Habbai: We are committed to contributing to the diversification of Dubai's economy and promoting sustainable growth by increasing the contribution of new vital sectors
  • Ferit Şahenk: Dubai has become an inspiring story of development in the past decade and the agreement aims to establish world-class marina facilities in the UAE

Dubai-UAE: 13 November 2018 - Dubai is poised to become a global capital for luxury yacht marinas as it continues to attract international companies to invest in the vital sector and capitalise on its growth opportunities, locally and regionally.

In partnership with Dubai Holding, Meraas today announced that it has signed an agreement with D-Marin, operator of the largest chain of marinas in the Eastern Mediterranean in six major international destinations, to attract international investments in the yacht sector and various supporting sectors and to promote Dubai as the preferred destination for luxury yachting and boating internationally.

The joint venture agreement was signed at MB92 premises in Barcelona by His Excellency Abdulla Al Habbai, Group Chairman of Meraas and Chairman of Dubai Holding, and Ferit Şahenk, Chairman of the Doğuş Group, the parent company of D-Marin. It reflects a commitment by Meraas and Dubai Holding to contribute to the diversification and growth of Dubai's economy and enhance its position as a major holiday and luxury marine tourism destination in the region and the world.

The newly established joint venture will manage and operate the existing and future marinas being developed by Meraas and Dubai Holding, including marinas in Port de la Mer, Dubai Harbour and Jumeirah Beach Hotel. The partnership seeks to also establish a regional centre with global standard for renovation, service and maintenance of luxury yachts and boats in Dubai, similar to D-Marin backed MB92, which is currently serviced by branches in Barcelona, Spain and La Ciotat, France. It also includes long-term provisions for the development of additional marina lifestyle offerings through a broader ecosystem of services and investments that extend into other sectors in the Middle East and Far East regions.

With the completion of Dubai Harbour, Meraas will own and operate the largest marina in the Middle East and North Africa with 1,100 berths, doubling the berths available in the UAE.

His Excellency Abdulla Al Habbai, Chairman of Meraas Group and Chairman of Dubai Holding, said: "The success of the two companies in attracting a global operator such as D-Marin to invest in the luxury marinas sector is aligned to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to promote Dubai as a leading international tourist destination and position the UAE at the forefront of world’s most business-friendly countries. This agreement will contribute to attracting new foreign investment to Dubai, which has high rates of direct investment growth in high value sectors.

This move is in line with the sustained efforts of Meraas and Dubai Holding to realise the Dubai Plan 2021 to diversify the UAE's economy and promote its sustainable growth through increasing the contribution to GDP of vital sectors such as tourism and related activities, including luxury yachting and maritime transportation. In doing so, the companies seek to boost Dubai's status as one of the top five global tourism, trade, transport and finance hubs.”

He added: “Dubai has attractive comparative advantages in the marina sector due to the UAE’s long-standing maritime heritage. This strategic agreement with D-Marin will harness the combined expertise to develop marinas facilities and services and provide infrastructure, as well as enhance Dubai's presence and status as a favourite destination for yacht owners and users around the world.”

As part of this partnership, D-Marin focuses on managing marinas through its advisory services on the technical and design aspects of building marinas at a competitive cost. The establishment of a local base in Dubai will also ensure integration with its current operations in South East Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean region. The company will additionally provide marketing and advertising support and offer the accumulated experience and best practices of its senior management team. The partnership aims to provide world class services to boat and yacht owners and users around the world and to create a calendar of marine activities, boat races and other marine events, contributing to strengthening Dubai's position as a global hub for this sector.

Ferit Şahenk, Chairman of the Doğuş Group said: “Dubai has become an inspiring story over the past decades. As Doğuş Group, we have been actively growing in Dubai since 2011 with our real estate and food & beverage business and are very grateful for the opportunities Dubai has offered us. Through this partnership and our regional centre in Dubai, we will invest in the long-term potential of this city and look forward to taking advantage of opportunities in the management and development of marinas in the GCC region."

He added: “This agreement is a testament to the success of D-Marin in expanding globally. The partnership with Meraas and Dubai Holding will unite our energies to create world-class marine facilities in UAE. We are aware of the importance of this partnership as it will contribute positively to the cooperation between all parties and give it much momentum and strength. We thank Meraas and Dubai Holding for the trust they have placed in us and reaffirm our deep commitment to cementing this partnership with many achievements.”

The yacht market with its requirement of marina berths, logistical needs, maintenance and management is characterised by high spending rates, while the demand for yachts and luxury boats from international tourism is growing. This is also increasingly contributing to attracting wealthy yacht owners for tourism and investment.

More marinas are needed in the UAE as demand from the region continues to grow. According to Frost & Sullivan, the global recreational boat market is expected to be worth approximately $23 Billion in 2018. The global consultancy and research firm also predicted that the market would grow to between US$28 billion and US$30 billion by 2022 in a recently published report.

With the sector witnessing remarkable development in Dubai, the UAE is positioned as a preferred global destination for lifestyle and an ideal place for the rich from all over the world seeking luxury living. The total value of the maritime sector in the UAE is expected to reach about US$66 billion by end-2018, while the value of the recreational boat industry ranges between US$1.3 billion and US$1.5 billion. The UAE ranks 9th in the world confirming its leading position in the leisure maritime sector with the build of 14 new luxury yacht projects with a combined length of 611 metres being manufactured locally this year.

In the GCC and the Middle East in general, there is a growing need for marinas. The region is a major market for luxury yachts with 205 luxury yachts requiring a berthing length of more than 40 meters, representing 13 per cent of the world's yacht fleet. The region has contributed to the growth of the number of luxury yachts worldwide by 7 per cent over the past three years, as per a recent report by the Superyacht Builders Association (SYBA).


About Meraas

Meraas is a Dubai-based holding company with operations and assets in the UAE. The company has established itself as a key innovator in UAE and follows a clear mandate to strengthen Dubai’s global position. The company has launched several projects in the real estate, tourism, hospitality, F&B, retail, leisure and entertainment, technology and healthcare sectors. Meraas has also forged collaborative relationships with key partners who will add value to its offering. Its portfolio of landmark destinations includes City Walk, The Beach, Boxpark, Last Exit, The Outlet Village, Kite Beach, Al Seef, La Mer, The Yard, Bluewaters and Dubai Harbour.

For more information, please contact:

Mathilda Saad

Head – PR & Communications


Reem Abi Ali

APCO Worldwide


About Dubai Holding

Dubai Holding is an investment conglomerate with operations in 12 countries employing over 20,000 people.

Established in 2004, Dubai Holding manages an AED 130 billion portfolio of assets, which supports the strong development of Dubai’s non-oil economy across sectors including; tourism, hospitality, real estate, media, ICT, education, design and trade.

Its portfolio includes:

  • Jumeirah Group, the hospitality arm which owns and operates 20 hotel developments in 9 destinations in 8 countries
  • Dubai Properties, one of the largest fully integrated and community development business in Dubai
  • TECOM Group, which manages 11 of Dubai’s most successful business communities
  • Dubai Asset Management, owners of one of the largest portfolio of residential communities for rent in Dubai
  • Dubai Retail, the retail management arm that focuses on developing, operating and managing Dubai Holding's extensive range of strategically located retail assets across prime destinations and communities
  • Arab Media Group, which implements a strategic plan to develop new family destinations and further grow digital media business lines.

Dubai Holding’s current project pipeline will add significantly to the Emirate’s portfolio of landmarks. This includes Marsa Al Arab, Emirates Towers District and Dubai Creek Harbour, a joint venture with Emaar Properties. Dubai Holding plays an influential role in delivering on Dubai’s economic diversification strategy and initiatives such as Tourism Vision 2020, Dubai Innovation Strategy and Dubai Industrial Strategy.

About D-Marin

D-Marin is a Doğuş Group company that was established to set a new benchmark in operations of the marinas. By managing 11 unique marinas in Ionian, Aegean & Adriatic Seas, D-Marin creates one of the largest international chain of marinas in the Eastern Mediterranean that promotes recreational yachting and develops sustainable businesses that encourage local employment and growth within the economy. Total berthing capacity is 8,471.

D-Marin has also expanded its service area to the refit, repair and maintenance of superyachts in the yachting sector by the partnership agreement made with MB’92 in Barcelona. Following that agreement additional two refit centres - Blohm + Voss La Ciotat and Compositeworks in France are added to the portfolio, offering longstanding experience and knowledge in superstructure maintenance and repair.

About Dogus Group

The Doğuş Group, founded in 1951, sets standards for a better living by being at the forefront of discoveries that shape modern life.

The Group, active in seven core businesses including automotive, construction, media, tourism and services, real estate, energy and food & beverage, sustains its growth with new investments in the areas of technology, sports, and entertainment along with its current operations. With over 300 companies in 25 countries in 4 continents and more than 35,000 employees, the Group serves its customers with advanced technologies, highest brand quality and a dynamic human resource.

The Doğuş Group currently partners and cooperates with some of the large global players including: Volkswagen AG and TÜVSÜD in automotive; Condé Nast (Vogue, GQ) in media; Hyatt International Ltd. in tourism; the Latsis Group , the Kiriacoulis Group and the Adriatic Croatia International (ACI) Group in marina and nautical operations; the international Azumi Group that holds under its roof brands such as Coya, Roka, Zuma and Oblix in food& beverage and entertainment; and the South Korean SK Group in e-commerce.

For more information, please contact:

Meri Matešić Sičić

Communication and Marketing manager, Doğuş Group - Croatia