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Dubai’s Port Rashid can handle five turnarounds at the same time

Dubai to receive 575,000 cruise passengers

DUBAI, November 27, 2016

Dubai Cruise Tourism (DCT) is poised to process 575,000 passengers from 154 ship calls in the 2016-17 season, up 6.28 per cent from 541,000 passengers and 133 ship calls last season.

The jump in cruise passenger numbers is bolstered by the arrival of Thomson Cruises as the sixth line to homeport at Mina Rashid, joining Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Royal Caribbean, TUI Cruises and MSC Cruises.

‘Over 23 cruise lines have Dubai in their itineraries, which is indicative of Dubai’s continued popularity as a tourist destination,’ said Dubai Cruise Tourism director Jamal Humaid Al Falasi.

Thomson Cruises will bring additional British passengers to Dubai where the top five source markets in 2015 were Germany, Italy, the UK, the US and Spain.

Along with key cruise line partners MSC, Costa and Royal Caribbean, DCT has just completed a three-city road show in China to Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. It follows a promotional push in India earlier in July with Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Kolkata added to an itinerary that has included Delhi, Ahmedabad and Mumbai for the past two years.

With almost 1 million Chinese taking a cruise last year, China is already a cruise savvy market. The trick for DCT has been to expose the previously unconsidered Dubai as a destination.

India, meanwhile, offers untapped riches, evidenced by the 1,200 travel agents and media that attended the six-city roadshow and the perhaps more tangible decision of Norwegian Cruise Lines to send a ship to India for the first time. Departing from Dubai in November, Norwegian Star will call at Goa, Mangalore and Kochi, then on to Sri Lanka. She will return in March 2017 after a series of South East Asian cruises.

Port Rashid’s third terminal, the 27,000-sq-m Hamdan bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal, came on stream in 2014 and enables DCT the capacity to handle passenger turnaround of five vessels simultaneously.

Operator DP World is building a fourth terminal and will eventually connect them all with a mini tube system. It is part of a wider Port Rashid Marina project announced by the global terminal operator which will have the fabled QE2 as its permanently moored centrepiece, reportedly offering museum style luxury accommodation, around a superyacht hub incorporating mixed-use residential and retail space.

In the meantime, DCT will continue its headline role in the Cruise Arabia, a synergy of six regional tourism authorities including founding members Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman plus Sharjah, Qatar and Bahrain.

DCT has confirmed it is in on-going dialogue with Emirates Airlines to provide dedicated airport check-in services to match the offering at Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal which has integrated bonded baggage technology linking to the emirate’s national airline Etihad Airways.

However, with as many as 25,000 passengers and their luggage to deal with on an average weekend, the logistics and customs implications for Dubai are rather more challenging.

Abu Dhabi's Sir Bani Yas Island has 40 confirmed vessel calls and an estimated 65,000 passengers set to explore Sir Bani Yas throughout the October-June season.

Industry insiders are set to experience the eagerly-anticipated eco-tourism stopover on a fam trip post the Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum, taking place in Abu Dhabi on December 13-14.

‘The 2015-16 cruise season will be a defining moment in the development of Abu Dhabi as one of the world’s most exciting emerging cruise destinations,’ said Sultan Al Dhaheri, acting executive director of tourism at the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.

All guests to Sir Bani Yas will also be able to experience a traditional dhow cruise, horseback riding, mountain biking, mangrove kayaking, snorkelling, beach sports, spa treatments, multiple dining options and the ruins of an early Christian monastery site from 6th century AD.

In total, Moreover,  Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal expects 139 vessel calls (including nine maiden calls) and 270,000 passengers in 2016-17, up from the record 113 ships and 231,660 passengers that called at the ultra-modern Zayed Port terminal last season. - TradeArabia News Service

Tags: Dubai | Cruise | season |

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