Published on : Tuesday, September 4, 2018
Now, the work that is being done at various ports across the UAE, especially in Dubai, experts say that the country is poised to earn a top spot on an international list of must see cruise destinations.
Samir Hamadeh, the general manager of Alpha Destination Management said that cruise tourism is one of the fastest-growing segments of Dubai’s tourism industry, with the city featuring among the world’s leading winter cruise destinations.
Key to this growth is the Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal at Mina Rashid that is set to be the largest terminal in the world, capable of handling 18,000 passengers a day.
Hamadeh said, “From ports to terminals, and on-ground support that is essential for tourists to access the destination, Dubai offers a seamless cruise experience. Infrastructure development is underway to add more capacity to the T3 terminal, which is spread across two million square metres, and is currently equipped to handle seven mega cruise vessels.
It will also transform Dubai into a fully integrated maritime tourism hub with world-class safety and comfort for travellers. The emirate plans to have 10 cruise ships based at its port.”
Since the inauguration of Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal at Mina Rashid, there has been a 68 per cent increase in cruise ship calls to Dubai from 93 in the 2013-2014 season to 156 in the 2016-2017 season.
“We can also attribute this tremendous growth to the variety and diversity in cruise brands and experiences awaiting cruise enthusiasts to the UAE, multiple-entry UAE visas exclusively for cruise tourists, and reduction in port charges at Dubai Cruise Terminal by 50 per cent for the upcoming season,” Hamadeh said.
Hamadeh added that new technology on-board cruise ships is making cruise tourism popular among younger travellers and boosting demand in the segment. Annually, there are 27 million cruise tourists globally.
Currently, German tourists account for a 40 per cent share of cruise passengers in Dubai. Besides traditional source markets like the UK, Italy, and Germany, the Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) is targeting visitors from China, India, Spain, Portugal and Russia with strategic promotional campaigns and tie-ups to boost the emirate’s cruise tourism sector and reach its target of one million cruise tourists by the end of 2021.