Dubai, Oman and Abu Dhabi together boast of an excellent and
evolving tourism and hospitality infrastructure.
Cruise Arabia sails to success at ATM
Dubai, May 12, 2014
Cruise Arabia, the collective formed by Oman’s Ministry of Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing to promote the Gulf as a cruise destination, said its official regional debut at Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai was a big success.
Formed in September 2013 with a shared aim to grow and evolve the cruise tourism segment and launched to the global travel trade at Cruise Shipping Miami in March 2014, this year’s ATM - the Middle East’s biggest and most important travel trade gathering - provided the first major regional opportunity for Cruise Arabia representatives to meet and interact with individuals and agencies from across the Middle East’s tourism sector.
Over the course of the week, Cruise Arabia partners met dozens of travel trade professionals, cruise industry insiders and media to an overwhelmingly positive reception from all parties.
The Cruise Arabia partners showcased the diversity of the destination offering of the region – including its city skylines, desert landscapes and beaches; the world’s most sophisticated malls and traditional souks; natural wilderness and adventure experiences; its art, culture and heritage; and world-leading hotels and a burgeoning gastronomy scene - all underpinned by an exceptional welcome and hospitality in the region that stems from traditional Bedouin culture.
Cruise Arabia is committed to making a significant investment to the cruise industry across the region, developing its segment infrastructure and creating current and future employment opportunities.
A key aim of the partnership is to encourage a new generation of tourists to cruise in the Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, spanning new travellers from traditional cruise markets in Europe and North America as well as those from emerging markets including China, India and the GCC.
With a focus on emerging markets, Cruise Arabia is working to raise awareness of the cruise tourism offering with audiences who may not be familiar with the experience, including the family-friendly aspects of cruising; the affordability of cruise travel; the breadth of on-board amenities and choice of leisure and entertainment activities; as well as the opportunity to explore four or five destinations within a week’s itinerary at a relaxed and leisurely pace.
On its debut, Hamad Mohammed bin Mejren, the executive director, Business Tourism at DTCM, said: "We are glad that we participated in ATM this year, and had an opportunity to highlight the fact that Dubai, Oman and Abu Dhabi together boast an excellent and evolving tourism and hospitality infrastructure with the opportunity to explore the many sights, rich culture, and romantic history of the Gulf."
"By communicating our shared strengths and the diverse tourism experiences in each of our three destinations as a single united force, we can become more than the sum of our parts," he added.
Mohammed bin Mejren said since its global launch last year, Cruise Arabia had received a hugely positive response from the industry and by coming together at ATM under a single banner "it validated our collective commitment to growing the cruise sector across the Gulf."
"Cruising is a perfect choice for families travelling together – with most cruise companies offering fantastic deals that include food, accommodation and free travel for children under the age of eight, with prices starting at just $450. It also enables tourists to visit as many as four or five different destinations within a week, and we see huge potential for growth at a local and regional level," he added.
The year has got off to a strong start for Cruise Arabia. After the successful global industry debut at Cruise Miami in March, later in the month Royal Caribbean International announced its return to the Gulf for the 2015-2016 cruise season with Splendour of the Seas.
With her home port in Dubai, the region’s leading destination for cruise tourism, she will also be sailing to Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Khasab, something that Mejren says: “Is testament to the strength of our partnership and our combined destination offering, which acted as a tangible incentive for Royal Caribbean’s return.”
The Splendour of the Seas will add more than 32,000 tourists to Dubai’s cruise traveller numbers in the 2015-16 season, contributing to DTCM aims to attract 450,000 annual cruise visitors in 2016 as part of the Dubai Tourism Vision target of 20 million annual visitors by the end of the decade, and its aim to become the world’s most visited city.
Khalid Al Zadjali, the director of Tourism Events, Oman Ministry of Tourism, said: "Oman has emerged as one of the most promising cruise destinations in the Middle East. Muscat Port has handled over 170,000 tourists in the past while Khasab has been included as a major tourist spot on the Arabian Gulf tour."
"To further boost the growing cruise tourism in the region, Oman has joined hands with Dubai and Abu Dhabi to offer Cruise Arabia, which will enable tourists to explore the rich, ancient culture of the region while enjoying the winter sun on clear, serene beaches.”
Sultan Al Dhaheri, the acting executive director Tourism, TCA Abu Dhabi said: "Through the efforts of the Cruise Arabia alliance with Dubai and Oman, the Gulf is fast becoming a leading winter cruise destination. We are focusing on raising awareness of the diverse shore experiences the region can offer passengers."
"This focus will embrace international, regional and domestic markets to generate demand and create a commercially viable and competitive destination for the world’s leading cruise lines. Our collaborative approach is already delivering results, and at ATM we were able to engage travel trade partners in our quest to leverage this significant potential," he added.-TradeArabia News Service