by Jeni Bone
Not content to wait until March 09, the boating fraternity of Dubai hosted the inaugural Dubai Boating Festival, 24-25 October, presented by Festival Centre in association with Island Global Yachting (IGY), the luxury marina developer and management company.
From the air, Dubai Festival City is an impressive marine and entertainment precinct.
The Dubai Boating Festival was positioned as 'an opportunity for families, boat enthusiasts, tourists and inhabitants of Dubai to experience a taste of what the city's waterfront has to offer'.
Dubai's sailing heritage was at the heart of the event, with racing dhows and traditional boat-building demonstrations. There were also model boat races, dragon boats and the spectacle of the fire-fighting vessel and helicopter rescue display.
Back on dry land, children's activities, a treasure hunt and strolling performers added to the festival ambience.
The theme was 'family fun'!
Festival City Dubai
Phil Blake, of IGY, and Marina Manager of Festival Marina said: 'In a country which boasts such a fabulous coastline and such a rich maritime history it struck us that we should be celebrating this and encouraging people who may not have visited the marina or experienced the adrenaline rush of a jet boat to come down and join in the fun.
'We hope that this will become an annual event and put Dubai on the map with the international boating community. Festival Marina is the perfect location for such an event with its proximity to the Creek and the amenities of Dubai Festival City.'
Dubai Festival City was the venue.
Island Global Yachting (IGY) has released figures that show Dubai is experiencing a boom in marina berths. The company predicts that Dubai will be home to more than 20,000 berths within the next five years.
IGY currently has 24 marinas under management and development worldwide, with a further six planned in the longer term.
The 200% increase in berths on current numbers in Dubai will also lead to the creation of more than 1,500 jobs within IGY's operations in Dubai alone.
Michael Horrigan, CEO of IGY Middle East and Europe commented: 'The Middle East is experiencing an explosion in the number of berths as a response to the boom in the region's property market.
'Dubai has always been a city with a strong maritime heritage but with the creation of some of the world's most unique waterfront developments, the city now appeals to a new market; the international yachting community. We are delighted that with our expansion we can also offer a wide range of exciting career opportunities within this region and further afield.'
Ahmed Lasheen, Regional Human Resource Director added: 'We are looking for talented, self-motivated and dedicated individuals to join us in creating premier megayacht destinations around the world.
'Not only do we offer opportunities in some of the most exciting locations around the world, but we also offer a comprehensive benefits plan and competitive salaries. With the industry growing at an incredible pace, future employees have the chance to develop and advance their careers even further.'
IGY opened its Dubai office in 2006 and quickly formed a strategic partnership with Nakheel to design, build and manage the marinas on all of Nakheel's waterfront developments. In 2007, IGY opened Festival Marina in Dubai at Al Futtaim's Dubai Festival City.
Also within the company's portfolio is Anchor Marina, a 590 berth facility for private yachts between 10 to 30 metres, due to open in December 2008.
More at www.dubaifestivalcity.com and www.igymarinas.com