Talia Maggi: Gulf Craft growing global
Talia Maggi, Gulf Craft’s Vice President of Commercial Division, discusses the UAE builder’s latest models, upturn in sales and global ambitions including hopes for Asia.
Talia Maggi, Vice President of Commercial Division, Gulf Craft
What led to you joining Gulf Craft and your recent promotion?
I moved to the UAE over a decade ago and spent seven years working with marine industry equipment and suppliers. I joined Gulf Craft in 2018 and was Brand Manager for Oryx. I worked closely with Hussein Alshaali, Head of the Concept Design Department, to give the brand more international appeal.
Gulf Craft’s Oryx 379
It was a classic sport cruiser and we saw the opportunity to make it more stylish, focusing on the qualities we see in our superyachts. In April 2021, I became Vice President of the Commercial Division, where I manage the sales and marketing for all the brands.
How do you rate Gulf Craft’s presence in Asia?
Gulf Craft has been selling into Asia for many, many years. We have had good success. We’ve sold models throughout Southeast Asia including quite a few Silvercraft models in Thailand and several Nomads into Singapore that go on to travel to different destinations.
Maggi with CEO Talal Nasralla and Gulf Craft staff at Cannes Yachting Festival
Over the last couple of years, we’ve really been focusing strongly on our international expansion and Asia is a very important part. There’s a lot of potential growth there, as we almost see it as an emerging market.
What are your thoughts on the partnership with Farfalla Marine, which represents Gulf Craft in Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos?
We’re really happy that Farfalla Marine (Profile, Issue 60 – click to read online) is among our partners in the region. I knew they were the right partners and they were so excited to get started. They’ve done a lot, developed quite a few collaborations and opened in Hong Kong, which is a very important market for us. I’m hoping by next year we’re really going to start to see a big push.
Gulf Craft launched the Majesty 49 in 2021
We have several models that are getting quite a few enquiries including the Majesty 49 (which premiered at the Abu Dhabi International Boat Show in October), Oryx 379, Nomads and Majesty 100, which is our bestseller.
Can you tell us more about the new Majesty 49 and 62 Maldives?
We had the Majesty 48 for many years. As we’ve tried to push further afield, outside of our home markets, we’re trying to develop our products to have more international appeal. The Majesty 48 was due for an uplift, and we wanted something sleeker, more stylish, so the 49 was born. It’s important to have an entry level into our brand, a moderate-sized boat that owners can run themselves and then start to grow with us.
Gulf Craft also launched the Majesty 62 Maldives in 2021
The Majesty 62 Maldives was obviously created for the Maldives, where we’re celebrating 20 years of production. The new model has two cabins instead of four and a much bigger saloon because it only has one helm station, on the flybridge. To our surprise and delight, we’ve found that the Maldives is not the only market interested in such a vessel and there’s interest in Southeast Asia as it’s very aggressively priced. I think the price point is really a big angle.
Hull 17 of the Majesty 100 was sold at Cannes
Is the Majesty 100 still the brand’s most popular superyacht?
It debuted in 2017, we delivered hull 10 earlier this year and we sold hull 17 on the first day of the Cannes Yachting Festival. This has been the year of the Majesty 100. We see a big attraction for this model all around the world.
Do you see Nomad models growing in popularity in areas like Southeast Asia where there are great cruising options?
Definitely. Nomad are good, functional, long-range motor yachts. As well as the standard models (55, 65, 75), in 2019 we launched the SUV series (65, 75, 95) which seems to be getting a lot of interest in Southeast Asia, for the same reason that it’s very popular in the Gulf.
SUV version of the Gulf Craft Nomad 65
Each model has vertical windscreens and an enclosed flybridge, which you can turn into a skylounge or even a bedroom. It’s a really nice place to get away from the sun, which is appealing in Asia.
How is the future looking for Gulf Craft, having announced that orders in the first half of 2021 were over 40 per cent higher than all last year?
It’s no secret last year was a tricky time for everybody, but Gulf Craft was very dedicated to moving forward. It was a good time for us to sit back and reflect on our business and our long-term strategies. Operationally, we continued to build – we were one of the very few shipyards who didn’t shut down at all – so we came out of 2020 with boats to sell.
Gulf Craft’s flagship Majesty 175 was handed over to its owner in November
The timing was perfect because the market was ready. People quickly realised that yachting is a great way to spend your time when you can’t be at the movies, the mall or other crowded places. They saw it was a safe place to enjoy time with your family and your friends. The Gulf Craft leadership saw it coming, so they continued to push fforward.
The Middle East builder announced that orders in the first half of 2021 are already well above its total for all of 2020, as it looks ahead to the world premiere of its flagship Majesty 175 at the Monaco Yacht Show.