Dubai’s cruise segment is gearing up for a busy season. The season took off on a positive note with Mina Rashid welcoming 11 ship calls carrying more than 39,954 passengers and crew, with nine of the 11 vessels staying overnight in Dubai.
The overall statistics show that Dubai Cruise Tourism, part of Dubai Tourism will welcome a total of 110 cruise ship calls carrying more than 381,000 passengers arriving over the next seven months. Passenger numbers are set to increase by 19% from the 2013-14 season. This would account for an additional 60,000 sea-travellers which will either embark, disembark or transit at Mina Rashid in Dubai.
Cruise forecasts for the region state that the sector will get an impetus with sustained growth for the cruise sector, spurred by upcoming opening of an additional new 27,000m2 terminal at Mina Rashid later this season and the implementation of the new cost effective Multiple Entry UAE visa for cruise tourists.
Hamad bin Mejren, executive director – Dubai Tourism said: “We have set ambitious growth targets for cruise as part of our Dubai Tourism Vision for 2020. Not only are we actively seeking to increase volume of cruise travellers from traditional source markets of North America and Western Europe, but we are also looking to attract first time global cruise travellers from China and the Far East, as well as India and the sub-continent. We also believe there is a real opportunity to grow intra-regional cruise tourism with our GCC neighbours which is why we expect to welcome 450,000 annual cruise tourists by 2016 and to record continued, sustainable growth into 2020 and beyond.”
As per reports, the number of vessels using Dubai Cruise Terminal as their home port increases to six and these vessels are expected to make a total of 83 trips in comparison to 63 trips in the 2013-14 season. Frequent cruises from Dubai start with a minimum of four nights travel, and include seven, 12 and 14 night itineraries covering the Arabian Gulf, India and Sri Lanka.