A reduction in 2005 of almost 90% in customs dues of all categories of imported ships and boats, increasing interest in yachting among better- off consumers and the construction of new harbours have brought growth to the sector in the past decade.
The boats of the ancient Egyptians were an important part of the history of seagoing. But yachting in Egypt has developed only recently.
Today Egypt, which in economic terms is considered one of the most developed nations of the Middle East and North Africa, has high overall consumption but big differences in income which have created disparity in consumer purchasing habits.
The preferences of Egyptian consumers and the changes in their lifestyles have helped the yachting industry flourish. Greater exposure to Western culture through the mass media has created demand for formerly unknown products. And those who have managed to get rich have shown greater interest in luxury goods.
High purchasing and maintenance costs mean that for now there are a limited number of consumers the yachts, but the Egyptian yachting industry has a well-defined customer base.
The growth of new yachting projects in Egypt, together with the reduction of boat import taxes in 2005, have helped increase the demand for yachts. This trend continued in later years. Yacht sales increased in 2014 over the previous years; the trend continued in 2005, when sales grew 15%.
The biggest demand for yachts in 2015 was for boats of between 40 and 60 feet, as happens in the more mature markets such as the Middle East, while a couple of years earlier the preferences were for smaller yachts, between 30 and 40 feet, more suitable for lagoon areas. There is little demand for sailing yachts, which are little used on the Red Sea because of its rapids and shallow water.
There is still plenty of demand for used yachts, which are often preferred to new vessels because they are felt to be cheaper.
But alongside consumers who want lower-priced used boats are rather is to go for luxury yachts with a modern and refined style. Users are paying increasing attention to after sales service, available 24 hours a day seven days a week, to retailers with good technical abilities who can provide service locally and guarantee competitive prices.
Abolition of taxes and new tourist ports
Before 2005 few yachts were sold in Egypt because few people could afford them. But 2005 marked a watershed in boat sales and in yachting in particular. In that year the Egyptian government cut the customs dues on all categories of imported ships and boats by almost 90% as part of a customs reform programme. Sales tax was also cut, from 45% to 5%.
The construction of new tourist ports also helped increased demand for yachts. Among these ports are the Sahl Hasheesh Marina and Port Ghalib Marina in the Red Sea, the El Alamein Marina with 480 berths on the Mediterranean, west of Alexandria, which are interesting infrastructures also for boatbuilders and distributors.
The number of private and state marinas has increased rapidly on all the coasts of Egypt. Among the most recent investments are Porto Marina, Wadi El Doum Marina, Ein El Sokhna Marina, Hurgada Marina and AbuTeig Marina on the Red Sea. There have also been restructuring projects in for yacht clubs in Cairo and Alessandria. The Egyptian government has announced offers for the construction of new tourist ports in Ras Sedr and Ein El Sokhna on the Red Sea, while private companies have aimed to expand their activities by building private marinas on the north coast and on the Red Sea.
Foreign companies in the yachting sector who want to market their products in Egypt are recommended to set up relationships with the local agent who knows the market well and can handle the complexities of doing business in Egypt. Since the Egyptian yachting market is more sophisticated than it once was, there is an increase for after sales service which demands local contacts.
Even if since 2005 the Egyptian yachting sector has grown, recently problems such as terrorism and the immigration question together with media conditioning are creating doubts about Egypt in the yachting and tourism sectors. But if these worries can be overcome, Egyptian yachting will grow again.
Egypt International Boat Show: a solid platform for yachts and accessories
The Egypt International Boat Show, in Cairo, hosts boats and accessories, small craft, motorboats, yachts, superyachts and other luxury vessels as well as products for water sports such as water skiing, surfing and diving.
It aims to highlight the progress made in the yachting and water sports sectors. Exhibitors included Art Marine, Emirates Boats and AlKhorayef Group. Among the visitors were marina constructors, yachting manufacturers, sellers and sales agents, operators from the coasts and marinas, canoe manufacturers, marine school students and end users. Over time this event has built up a successful and internationally recognised image.
During the Boat Show special activities are organised including excursions, receptions and parties to attract the public.
The position close to the River Nile is useful both for providing fresh water and electrical energy and in terms of communication. The organisers hope to take the show to ever higher levels, also with an eye on eco-sustainability.
De Birs Yachts: an Egyptian yard with an international outlook
The De Birs Yachts yard is in the free zone of Amreya, a suburb of Alexandria in an area that faces the Mediterranean and is strategic for reaching Africa, Asia and Europe.
Not far from the yard are cargo ports and two airports which make it possible to handle goods transport, supply chains and customer service rapidly and efficiently.
The yard occupies a site of 10,000 m², 6000 of them covered; the area could be further developed. De Birs Yachts has specialised internal structures for building motorboats and yachts of various sizes. The yard has several internal workshops to provide quality services of carpentry, mechanics and electrics, upholstery, lamination and polishing. There is also a test basin 22.3 m long.
This yard combines Italian inspired design with avant-garde design and technology. For more than 25 years De Birs Yachts has been supplying luxury yachts also inspired by the racing sector. The combination of competences coming from the aviation sector with the marine sector enables them to build spacious motor yachts with attention to detail that are designed also to guarantee privacy, comfort and service at competitive prices.
In 25 years the business has developed its own company culture, with rules and values shared by all staff. The company relies heavily in its human resources: designers, engineers and business experts also from other continents.
Shama Yacht: safe and comfortable luxury yachts
The Shama Yacht production complex, one of the main Egyptian companies specialising in fibreglass motor yachts, covers an area of 10,000 m² in the 6th of October city in Giza, about 20 km south-west of Cairo. The Shama Yacht yard, which has received important international prizes, rigorously quality tests its yachts before they leave the yard.
Use of the latest CAD technology allows the Shama team in the in-house design office to combine abilities and experience, favouring collaboration among designers.
Professionals with remarkable experience built elegant yachts with cabins furnished with hand-made craft pieces and that also offer safety and comfort.
Among the successful yachts that have made the history of Shama Yacht is the Shama 115 Raised Pilot House, an elegant superyacht with an exterior designed by the Shama-in-House Design Team and interiors by Omega Design Studio. This yacht has four cabins and a recreation area. On the upper deck is a large saloon with a luxurious dining area, complete with multimedia system. Further forward are other rooms, a wardrobe and a luxury bathroom suite.
The stern platform has a dining area with seating, gives access to the side decks, has an access ladder to the engine room and storage, and a lower platform is designed for bathing. The flying bridge has various areas including a saloon, sun beds, bar and pilot station, further seating and a sunbathing area forward.
Almaroon: customisation a strong point
Almaroon is a recently formed company but has staff with great experience. Founded in 2006, it specialises in building yachts to compete with the big international yards. The company has its yard in Safaga City, a port and tourist centre in the Red Sea. Here the company builds yachts of all kinds, respecting international standards. Almaroon also offers custom yachts, built to customer specifications, and strives to offer them at competitive prices and with fast delivery, though without neglecting quality.
The company collaborates with Astell Explorer, an exclusive partner for South Korea, Japan, China, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Indonesia and Singapore.
Hurghada Marina, a modern and welcoming tourist port
The Hurghada Marina tourist port has been operating since June 2008 and has berths for up to 200 yachts (of from 10 to 50 m). Megayachts can moor on the seaward side of the main quay. It is cited in the city of Hurghada, a renowned tourist spot on the Red Sea close to the Gulf of Suez and 370 km south of the city of sewers. The tourist port is close to the small quay to the south of the port of Hurghada, on an area of about 150,000 m².
Hurghada Marina is very welcoming and allows tourists to enjoy the sea, to take pleasing walks admiring the boats but also to enjoy themselves in one of the more than 20 bars and restaurants offering food and drink for all tastes, spending the evening in a discotheque or listening to live music. For the more adventurous there is also the “Rocket bungee”, which gives a view of Hurghada in flight from a height of about 60 m. Hurghada Marina is connected to the city centre by buses and taxis.