Dubai to receive 1m cruise line passengers by 2020

Dec 13 2017

At the opening session of Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum, Issam Kazim, CEO, Dubai Corporation of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) delivered a keynote address to cruise line executives and regional industry stakeholders confirming that Dubai remains on track to receive one million cruise passengers by 2020.

Addressing delegates, he also referenced DCTCM’s plan to ensure that cruise passengers felt the ‘soul’ of Dubai and there would be an extra concentration on excursions that show the heritage of the city and its older parts…as well as the more modern areas and attractions. Esam Ahmed, Commercial Manager, Mina Rashid & Mina Hamriyah, DP World, also highlighted the growth plans for Mina Rashid cruise port which includes the allocation of additional berths to handle up to 7 mega ships (up from the current 6) and the development of a new terminal to meet market demand by 2020.

The first day’s Summit Session ‘managing growth, planning for the future’ saw senior government officials and tourism stakeholders then discuss their own growth plans for their destinations.

Oman’s Mohammed Zahran Al Mahruqi, Program Director, ASYAD enlightened the audience of the infrastructural port growth plans, while Bahrain’s Yousef AlKhan, Director of Marketing & Tourism Promotion, Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) confirmed that there was a 45% increase in cruise passengers in the 2016-2017 season to 76,185.

For the first time, a delegation from India were amongst delegates and also represented on stage by Dr Suman Billa, Joint Secretary (Tourism), Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and Shri Yashodhan A Wanage, Deputy Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust. Both gave a rallying cry of the ‘dawn of cruise tourism in India’ and asked stakeholders to work together to help the growth of cruise tourism to the main ports of Mumbai; Goa; Mangalore; Chennai and Cochin – all of which have been identified by the Government of India for cruise development - and also the potential of interporting with Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Shaji Thomas, Director Destination Tourism Development, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority told delegates that RAK Port is upgrading its existing passenger terminal to accommodate boutique cruise vessels – which currently account for 11% of cruising capacity in the region. He also spoke of energetic growth plans for the UAE emirate; a new cruise terminal opening in February 2018 and announced that the world’s longest and highest zip line – surpassing the previous record holder in Puerto Rico – due to open soon.