Dubai, UAE, 6 November 2019: With the start of a new cruise season last month, Dubai has stepped up its drive to attract more cruise travellers keen to explore and enjoy the city’s winter sun offerings, as part of efforts to further strengthen its position as a leading ‘cruise hub of the region’.
The upcoming 2019/2020 season is expected to welcome more than 200 ship calls and an estimated one million cruise visitors. This follows a successful 2018/2019 cruise season when the city witnessed a record increase of over 51 per cent in cruise tourist footfall with nearly 850,000 tourists and 152 ship calls, a 38 per cent increase compared to the previous season.
The new cruise season commenced on 19 October with the arrival of TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 5, carrying over 6,000 passengers. This will be followed by five maiden calls from leading international cruise liners throughout the season, including Costa Cruises’ Costa Diadema, MSC Cruises’ MSC Bellissima, Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, Croisieurope’s La Belle Des Oceans and TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 6. The cruise liners will homeport at Dubai’s award-winning Mina Rashid Cruise Terminal, with world-class facilities capable of handling seven mega-cruise vessels at one time. In fact, the terminal will receive five cruise vessels in a single day on 11 occasions throughout this season and six cruise vessels in a single day twice throughout the season.
In April, Mina Rashid won the Middle East’s Leading Cruise Terminal Award for the 12th consecutive time at the World Travel Awards 2019, along with WTA’s prestigious World’s Leading Cruise Port Award for 11 years in a row since 2008.
Mohammed Al Muallem, CEO and Managing Director, DP World, UAE Region, said: “Cruise tourism is steadily increasing its contribution towards making Dubai a multi-faceted leisure destination for international travellers. DP World, UAE Region is committed to developing Dubai’s cruise industry to its maximum potential in line with the goals set out in the Dubai Silk Road strategy which was developed by the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCFC) in collaboration with key government entities.”
Mohammed Abdul Aziz Al Mannai, CEO-P&O Marinas & Executive Director, Mina Rashid, said: “Mina Rashid’s status as the premier cruise port of the region is reflected in not just the number of tourists sailing in on an annual basis, but more importantly, the rising number of cruise liners making this their preferred homeport. They’re here because of the continuous improvements that we make to the facilities and our customer service at our luxury terminals, led by the flagship Hamdan Bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal. The cruise operators are valued partners in cementing Dubai’s position as the cruise hub of the region.”
Hamad Bin Mejren, Senior Vice President, Dubai Tourism, said: “Dubai has continued to strengthen its position as the leading cruise hub in the region, and is now the preferred destination for cruise travellers looking to experience the diversity of Dubai’s tourism offerings including the Arabian hospitality, culture and heritage. Last season, we witnessed remarkable growth in visitor footfall and international cruise liners opting to dock at the award-winning Mina Rashid cruise terminal, reflecting Dubai’s ongoing efforts to provide international visitors with holistic and world-class services throughout their journeys. We anticipate another successful season with the arrival of TUI Cruises’ Mein Schiff 5, marking a significant step in our efforts to promote Dubai as a ‘must-visit’ cruise destination.”
The 2019/2020 cruise season will also see increased efforts to promote cruise tourism in the region by the Dubai Cruise Committee which is comprised of leading industry partners; Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), DP World UAE Region, operator of the Mina Rashid, Emirates Airlines, The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai, and Dubai Customs.