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Owning a Yacht in Egypt
The Red Sea marinas has witnessed a flourishing interest in yachting. Having access to the protected azure waters along the Egyptian coastline is an appealing way to escape the crowds. Cairo West Magazine sought out Harry Kourmousis, Managing Director of Marine Centre International to get an overview of boating life on the Red Sea.
CWM: What is the current status of yacht ownership in Egypt?
HK: Yacht sales in Egypt are on the rise again and the 2014 growth trend is expected to continue in 2015, with a further 15% estimated increase. As such, marinas such as Abu Tig Marina in El Gouna are increasing their level of services and facilities and international yacht brokers like Marine Centre International continue to invest in the market with luxury yachts that meet country-specific needs. They also offer after sales services that includes on-site technical support and 24/7 customer service. Three market trends are worth mentioning:
- It is the largest yachts that are in high demand in Egypt, similar to more mature markets, such as Middle East, compared to a demand for smaller boats a few years ago.
- There is a shift in the market mentality. As the market becomes more mature, yacht owners look for minimal design and modern style.
- 24/7 customer service and after sales support is also becoming a make or break yacht sales selection point. Buyers are looking for a yacht sales company with the technical know-how and on-site service that will guarantee their piece of mind.
How many marinas are there at present? And how many more in the pipeline?There are approximately 10 marinas in Egypt, however only a handful have facilities of international standards that can compete with marinas in Europe and UAE for example.
How many people moor their yachts in El Gouna, and what are the benefits?
There are approximately 220 yachts in El Gouna today. The marina infrastructure is built around international standards and offers all modern amenities, 24-hour security and a close proximity to all amenities. Its’ easy access across the Red Sea makes it an ideal location for yacht owners from across the world. Abu Tig Marina also accommodates different size boats and yachts and offers a range of berths depending on the owner’s needs. For example, some berths offer privacy, ideal for well-known Egyptian yacht owners who don’t want to be in the spotlight.
What size range in yachts is the most popular?
In Egypt, it is the size of 40-60 feet yachts that are on high demand at the moment, compared to demand for smaller 30-40 feet boats that were popular two years ago. For example, for Marine Centre International, Cranchi 54 was the best seller in 2014 and most requests in 2015 are for similar or larger sized yachts. In El Gouna in particular, because of its infrastructure, smaller sized boats are still on demand, as they offer convenient access around the lagoons.
Which size is best suited to the conditions in the Red Sea?
45-70 feet yachts are ideal for yacht owners who wish to explore the Red Sea and its’ islands. Smaller sized boats are also popular for yacht owners who wish to explore the nearby areas, lagoons and swallow waters. So it all depends on what the yacht owner’s needs are.
Do people also go for sailing yachts as well as the more common motor-yachts?
Demand for sailing yachts is minimal, due to the Red Sea conditions, with the rifts and shallow waters. Small scale sailing schools have started to operate in El Gouna, but it will be a while before sailing boats become popular and certainly not to the extent of the power boats, which are the ideal boats in terms of safety and lifestyle needs of the region.
Which are the most popular brands selling into the Egyptian market?
The global trend of modern design, minimal style and finesse is also a trend in Egypt, therefore Italian brands such as Cranchi, which combines a unique Italian style and design with innovative technical specifications, is increasingly popular. For Marine Centre International, Cranchi Yachts was the number 1 seller in 2014 and we see its popularity continue in 2015. Obviously, there is always a selective group of yacht buyers looking for luxury fishing boats like the Tiara yachts, which are so high in demand on a global scale, there is a five-month waiting list!
What are the most important points for a prospective boat owner to consider, i.e. in terms of upkeep, maintenance etc.?
Prospective boat owners need to have one point in mind. A good sales pitch is not enough. They need to find a dealer with the technical infrastructure and know–how to support and advice them at any time. The level of investment in this know–how is what differentiates between the yacht companies in the region and this is why it is vital to continuously invest in after sales services. This may include technical support, customization and regular maintenance.
Is it easy to find crew/ cleaning and maintenance for a yacht in Egypt?
Crew should combine technical and maintenance know-how with strong customer service and interpersonal skills. Being able to communicate with people of different cultures and at all levels is just as crucial as is experience in handling any technical or maintenance checks. This type of crew is not easy to find therefore we heavily invest in our people to ensure they meet our various customer needs. Boat owners need to look for a marine centre who will offer them this level of day-to-day support.
What would be the average cost of mooring/ insurance and upkeep of a yacht in Egypt per month?
Mooring costs depend on the size of a yacht as fees are calculated according to its length. Insurance fees also vary, depending on the value of each yacht. Upkeep of a yacht in Egypt is relatively cheaper than in European marinas and varies depending on the level of services the owner needs.
What are common mistakes that inexperienced buyers make?
Inexperienced buyers may fall for what seems to be the lowest price, without considering the extras they may need on their boat and more importantly, without calculating the resale value of the boat. This often leads inexperienced buyers to buy boats that may sound like good value for money initially but they end up paying a lot more.
How is the second hand boat market?
Demand for second hand boats is still strong. Many first time buyers prefer a second hand boat, while some existing boat owners look to upgrade to a larger boat and choose a second hand one that is within their budget.
Contact info for Address Book
Contact: Sandy Koukoura, Marine Centre International, Abu Tig Marina, El Gouna, Egypt, 00201 272379794