India, with a long coastline and growing affluence, is emerging as a big opportunity for troubled makers of yachts and leisure boats hit by the declining affluence in Europe and the US.
India is still a nascent market but experts say the business climate is warm enough for the industry to take off over the next five years. The catch: infrastructure is poor in India.
Laura Hodd, marketing director at Oceanstyle, which specialises custom yachts and charter management, said emerging markets were giving "good growth" while the US market was just beginning to improve.
"Your country has a beautiful, virgin coastline, making it an attractive sailing destination," she said.
While demand in India was earlier mostly for luxury or leisure boats, companies are now seeing a surge in demand for a fuller range including the day boats, speed boats, security boats, personal watercraft, kayaks, boating accessories, marine engines, marine toys and sail boats. Leisure boats now cost upwards of Rs 16 lakh but companies such as Mahindra Ocean Blue Marine are planning to make less expensive ones.
"Over the next few years boating will become more accessible in India," said Bruno Voisard, CEO, Nautitech Catamarans, a France-based company.
"States need to proactively promote this kind of tourism and build marinas in good time," said Maneck Davar, chairman, Mumbai Boating Show.
Gujarat is looking at opening up its shores to promote boating in the state.