Racing aficionados with a taste for that extra element of glamour and exclusivity were out in force at the recently concluded Formula 1TM Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – watching the on-track action from the decks of several luxury yachts lining the stunning harbour-front Yas Marina Circuit.
In a scene reminiscent of the exciting shoreline activity that annually accompanies the Monaco Grand Prix – held on the world’s most famous waterfront circuit – corporate hospitality events and private pre- and post-race gatherings took some of the celebratory atmosphere offshore, in what yachting industry experts are taking as a very promising sign of things to come.
“For an inaugural event, the response was excellent. The yachting community recognised the potential the Grand Prix holds for the Abu Dhabi market and made full use of the opportunity the racing weekend provided,” said Franck Dailles, Group Director of Informa Yacht Group (IYG) - organisers of the Abu Dhabi Yacht Show (ADYS) which is scheduled to take place on February 25-27, 2010. “For guests willing to pay the price for a full-scale luxury experience, the options were endless. Several companies offered unique yacht-based experiences at this year’s event and many more will be clamouring to attract this lucrative market in the future.”
The racing weekend (October 30-November 1) saw discerning visitors to the city pay in the range of €6200 (approximately AED33,630) for 3-day onboard packages offering luxury accommodation, fine-dining and beverage options, and a coveted vantage point of the race circuit from the yachts that bordered a significant portion of the 5.555km track.
Several charter companies and yachts who will be participating in the upcoming ADYS in February, such as Silver II, sailed into the waters of the Gulf to take advantage of the superb opportunities the racing weekend offered. Dailles believes the second edition of ADYS will see many charter companies showcasing vessels that will directly target private charter and corporate hospitality opportunities revolving around upcoming Abu Dhabi Formula 1™ events.
“We expect to see a lot of exciting yachting activity develop around the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in the coming years. This year we collaborated with Charterbay, the central agent for charter and sale for the 155-foot superyacht Ellix Too to bring in the luxury vessel especially for the event, in association with luxury event organizers MonacoKool. The superyacht enjoyed an enviable position along the water’s edge, and hosted a full schedule of exciting onboard gatherings and activities during the event,” said Dailles. “The atmosphere was spectacular, and guests onboard the yachts moored at Yas Marina had an experience that went beyond the track to encompass a complete and vibrant lifestyle offering,” he added.
Many companies have already begun promoting services for the 2010 edition of the Abu Dhabi Formula 1™, such as booking a berth for a private yacht amongst the limited and highly coveted 150 berthing spots trackside, or chartering a fully staffed and already berthed yacht. Established players in the yacht charter business, who to date focused mainly on Monaco for hospitality packages tied into Grand Prix events, have also been quick to add Abu Dhabi as the newest destination on their books – offering race weekend packages combining luxurious onboard accommodation with exciting extras such as pit lane tours and onshore gala dinners.
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), the headline sponsor of ADYS, says the Grand Prix has spurred interest in corporate hospitality and added a new dimension to the emirate’s business tourism proposition.
“The meetings and incentive industry will catch on to Abu Dhabi’s potential in providing great hospitality opportunities afloat,” said Ahmed Hussein, Deputy Director General, ADTA. “It is an imaginative platform for this lucrative sector, which is constantly looking for new and exciting products, to develop. The marina infrastructure now being fulfilled throughout the emirate will lift the destination’s overall offering to a new level which will appeal locally, regionally and internationally.”
Abu Dhabi Yacht Show 2010 is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nayhan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. ADYS is the Middle East’s premier show focusing exclusively on the luxury superyacht and megayacht sector, comprising sailing and motorized yachts over 25 metres in length. Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) is the headline sponsor of the second edition of the show, and the associate sponsor is luxury horologer Horus.
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