Record cruise season for Abu Dhabi

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Record cruise season for Abu Dhabi
Passengers wait to board cruise ships at the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal.

dubai - Abu Dhabi Ports recorded a 40 per cent increase in vessel calls and 48 per cent overall increase in passengers

By Staff Report

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Published: Sat 17 Jun 2017, 6:53 PM

Last updated: Sat 17 Jun 2017, 8:56 PM

Abu Dhabi Ports celebrated the successful close of its best cruise season at the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal with the maiden call of Princess Cruise Lines' Majestic Princess.

The company recorded booming growth for the year with a 40 per cent increase in vessel calls and 48 per cent overall increase in passengers to Zayed Port and Sir Bani Yas from last year.

The 2016-17 cruise season saw more than 345,662 tourists visit the emirate, up from 232,605 in 2015-16. Vessel numbers increased from 115 in 2015-16 to 161 in 2016-17.

Abu Dhabi Port's two cruise destinations are Zayed Port and the Sir Bani Yas Island Cruise Beach, which was launched during last year's season as the first dedicated cruise beach and eco-tourism stopover.

Following on last season's success with a 16 per cent growth in passengers, this year the company recorded a 48 per cent increase in passengers arriving at the terminals - close to six times the eight per cent increase expected by the company last year.

Captain Mohamed Al Shamisi, CEO, Abu Dhabi Ports, said the record-breaking season was testament to the growth of Abu Dhabi as a global hub for both commerce and tourism.

"For several years, we have made significant investments in our port infrastructure and tourism offerings to build a world-class cruise hub here in Abu Dhabi," said Captain Al Shamisi.

Abdulkareem Al Masabi, executive vice-president, ports, at Abu Dhabi Ports, said: "Since developing the cruise terminal, we have worked diligently and closely with cruise lines to promote Abu Dhabi as a unique travel destination. We launched Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach as a must-visit destination on cruise liner routes this season, which has contributed to a 40 per cent growth in number of vessel calls this season, doubling last year's forecast of 21 per cent increase for 2016/2017. We look forward to launching the new season and further success," said Al Masabi.

Calls by maiden vessels such as the Majestic Princess promise a brighter future for the Abu Dhabi cruise tourism industry as well as the company. Cruise ships from European and American markets now select Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminals as preferred destinations on their routes.

Most 10 nationalities arriving at the cruise terminal include Germany (48 per cent), UK (21 per cent), Italy (10 per cent), Russia (five per cent), The Netherlands (four per cent), US and Spain (three per cent), and Belgium, Switzerland and Austria at two per cent each.  

While most years the company has typically seen the cruise season end in late April/early May, the Majestic Princess vessel's arrival at the terminal this June is testament to passenger demand to experience Abu Dhabi.

Of the 162 cruise vessels that arrived in Abu Dhabi, the last one to call this season is the Majestic Princess, that stopped at Abu Dhabi in between Dubai and Cochin, India as part of its 56-day route from Barcelona to home port in Shanghai, China.

With the boom in numbers visiting the Cruise Terminal in Zayed Port, there has been a consequent increase in visitors to the Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach.

- business@khaleejtimes.com



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