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Yachting tops Dubai resident’s bucket list as developments within the maritime sector swell

The UAE Experience Survey by Shamal Holding shows a growing demand for coastal activities, as residents look for transformative group experiences that are easily accessible


February 27, 2024

Yachting has topped UAE resident’s bucket list, according to the inaugural UAE Experience Survey by Shamal Holding. The study conducted by YouGov, which surveyed 1014 people across the emirates, saw Yacht Trips (52%) beat traditional bucket list experiences as the nation’s most sought-after activity, surpassing skydiving (44%) and hot air ballooning or helicopter rides (44%). The growing appetite for yacht experiences correlates with the development of the UAE as a premier yachting destination, reinforced by year-round sunshine, unique coastline and luxury marinas.


Whilst adrenaline-inducing pursuits have traditionally driven bucket list preferences for many years, recent interest in maritime activities show a growing demand for experiences that can be enjoyed as a group and provide collective memories. This is supported by the insights from the UAE Experience Survey, which highlighted that 1 in 2 residents are seeking diverse experiences that are memorable. The research also shows that residents are keen to explore the natural landscape of the UAE, with 53% of them choosing to spend weekends at the beach and 44% preferring to spend time in nature. Within the sample surveyed, 87% of people also agreed that the nation offers a wide range of experiences.


Experiences have been fundamental to the growth of the UAE as the chosen home for more than 200 nationalities who look to our multidimensional landscape to maximise their leisure time. As a diversified investment firm with a wide range of leisure, entertainment and hospitality experiences within our extraordinary portfolio, we have seen consumer preferences evolve in recent years as a response to major global events. Consumers are still looking for enriching and transformative experiences since the pandemic, but now, they are looking for ones that are easily accessible and can provide repeat memories with loved ones. Yachting provides the perfect platform for people to connect with their surroundings and with one another, while the lure of the open water offers moments of introspection and restoration,” said Abdulla Binhabtoor, Chief Portfolio Management Officer, Shamal Holding.


“At Dubai Harbour for instance, we have seen an increased interest from residents for commercial yachting charters, showing the potential to sustain growth domestically through a variety of experiences. In the coming months, we believe more people will integrate maritime destinations as part of their lifestyle choices as they seek greater connections with the sea”, continued Binhabtoor.


As the owning company of some of Dubai’s most unique and iconic leisure and entertainment destinations, Shamal Holding continues to invest in the extraordinary across all its leisure assets including Kite Beach, XPark, XDubai, Skydive Dubai and Dubai Harbour.