ABU DHABI // Anyone with a spare Dh367million (US$100m) and a hankering for the sea should enjoy the capital's inaugural super yacht show this weekend. Around 20 luxurious craft worth a total of $500m will be on display at the new Marina Zone. The three-day Abu Dhabi Yacht Show begins on Thursday and is being held at the city's National Exhibition Centre. One of the highlights of the event will be the 85-metre-long Alysia, which is for sale at $100m and boasts a helipad, swimming pool, whirlpool bath and steam rooms. The 73-metre vessel Silver will also feature in the show and, despite its lack of a helipad, is a snip at $80m. "In a world of depreciating home values, the mega yacht is the ultimate in liquid assets and they are in such demand around the world that most of the large shipyards are fully booked until 2014," said Franck Dailles, group director of the show. About 5,000 visitors are expected to attend, said Mr Dailles, including invited guests and those who will pay the Dh365 entrance fee. "This signifies the start of marking out Abu Dhabi as a key venue that will one day rival some of the greatest yacht shows in the world," he added. Around 90 exhibitors from 26 countries will have stands at the fair. Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, the chairman of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, said the fact that the show included so many participants from around the world underlined international confidence in the UAE's economy, despite the global slowdown.
He said: "Abu Dhabi remains committed to progressing its measured expansion plans and the waterfront and island destinations, many boasting state-of-the-art marinas which have been planned over the last few years and are now taking shape." The Marina Zone, unveiled at last month's Idex arms fair, stretches along 2.4km of coastline and includes berths for 30 super yachts, boats that measure 25 to 40 metres in length. Mega yachts are between 40 and 90 metres long. Those longer than 90 metres are classed as giga yachts.