Dubai set to host 1 million cruise tourists by 2020

Dubai set to host 1 million cruise tourists by 2020
More berths are being allocated and existing terminals are being linked via a tubes system at Mina Rashid.

dubai - Massive expansion is under way at the Mina Rashid terminal



The emirate of Dubai will host one million cruise passengers by the year 2020, according to Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, chairman and CEO of DP World and chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.

ports"Mina Rashid is the number one cruise terminal in the Mena region in terms of traffic and infrastructure, but we are set to go all out and make the passenger-friendly facility the best in the world," he said.

To achieve that end, the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation has joined hands with all authorities present at the port, including Dubai Customs, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs and Dubai Police, to deliver expedited, top-notch services to cruise tourists.

Massive expansion is under way at the Mina Rashid, bin Sulayem added. "To ensure the facility reaches its optimal capacity and to further facilitate passengers' access to the terminals, more berths are being allocated, existing terminals are being linked via a high-tech tubes system and an additional terminal is being built."

Bin Sulayem said they are committed to investing in the transformation of Mina Rashid into a cruise destination of choice for cruise liners.

"We want to increase the number of cruise ships calling at Dubai Cruise Terminals in order to meet our target of one million cruise passengers a year by 2020."

There is also a plan to build a marina for luxury yachts at the Mina Rashid in response to the high demand worldwide for luxury yacht berths, he said.

"Mina Rashid has been voted the Middle East's leading cruise port at the World Travel Awards for the seventh consecutive year. It serves as a hub for tourists wishing to explore Middle Eastern countries, with a capacity to cater to seven mega cruise vessels at one time."

He said the ongoing Mina Rashid Development project will strengthen Dubai's position as a global city and the premier cruise hub in the world.

"Dubai has experienced a 22 per cent growth in the number of cruise ships and a 33 per cent increase in cruise passenger traffic between the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 cruise seasons, from 109 ships and 373,000 passengers to 134 ships and more than 500,000 passengers respectively."

"The growth trend is set to continue in the 2016-2017 season, with 155 cruise vessel calls [16 per cent growth] and 650,000 passengers [30 per cent growth], according to pre-bookings."

Bin Sulayem said the busy cruise season for Mina Rashid runs from November to April. "However, we do have a few ships calling at the cruise and leisure terminal during October, May and June."

"The majority of ships are home porting, which supports our vision to attract more cruise liners to do home porting from Dubai. Home porting ships add value to overall tourism in Dubai and supports airlines, hotels and other tourist facilities in Dubai," bin Sulayem added.

Official figures show that cruise tourism in Dubai has been growing rapidly. It went up from seven cruise vessels carrying 5,626 passengers in the 2001-2002 season to 21 ships with 21,045 passengers on board in the 2005-2006 season.

"A remarkable increase was seen in the 2010-2011 season, where 104 ships carrying 337,242 passengers berthed in Dubai," bin Sulayem said.

- ahmedshaaban@khaleejtimes.com


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