cover-story-2-feb-17

Setting sail for strong season

Dubai Cruise Tourism is going all out to develop and position Dubai as a top cruise destination. Cruise tourism, today, stands as a major component of Dubai’s tourism proposition.

Jamal Humaid Al Falasi Director Dubai Cruise Tourism

By the end of 2016, almost 24 million tourists would have taken to the high seas to explore and enjoy destinations around the globe. Cruise tourism has historically enjoyed a cult following, but over the past decade the industry has found new wind in its sails thanks to the emergence of new markets such as China and India, as well as a resurgence of interest in cruise tourism among families and millennials. At the same time, cruise lines have trained their focus on offering a more bespoke experience, incorporating diverse cultural elements into their offerings, increasing opportunities for community engagement in destination itineraries, encouraging rich intergenerational family as well as luxury experiences, and improving on-board connectivity.

In tandem with the changing demography of travellers and the transformation of the cruise experiences, Dubai has made its growing presence felt on global cruise maps. Dubai is emerging as a luxurious, laid-back cruise destination with a deep-rooted affinity to its Arabian heritage. For the modern seafarer — sun- and beach-loving young families, couples as well as older travellers — the long coastline, sunny climes, cosmopolitan buzz and cutting-edge infrastructure of Dubai have a strong appeal.
Dubai Cruise Tourism has been tasked with developing and positioning Dubai as a top cruise destination. Thanks to these efforts, cruise tourism is a major component of Dubai’s tourism proposition today, contributing to the delivery of Dubai’s Tourism Vision for 2020, which aims to welcome 20 million visitors per year by 2020.

To build on existing strengths, we have forged collaborations with Emirates Airline, DP World, Dubai Customs, Dubai Immigration and other relevant stakeholders to provide comprehensive support and increase flexibility to both cruise lines and travellers. Through increased air-lift and more streamlined visa processes, we have also improved the city’s accessibility, opening up emerging source markets with high growth potential such as India, China, South America and Russia. Dubai also boasts an attractive entry point for tourists through Mina Rashid, the most modern and largest dedicated port facility in the Middle East for cruise operations, spanning over 36,500 square metres on a pier stretch of 2,200 metres. The facility allows Dubai to comfortably handle complete passenger turnaround of five cruise ships simultaneously, and is equipped with essential facilities ranging from ATM machines to complimentary shuttle buses to the city’s malls.

With the new cruise season already underway, Dubai is looking forward to welcoming 23 of the world’s leading cruise liners — including six home-porting in the city — accounting for 157 ship calls, which will range from overnighters to two-night stop-overs. The roster of ship calls includes 10 maiden calls from Norwegian Cruise Line, Thomson Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Seabourn, MSC’s Fantasia class ship with 4,500-passenger capacity, and TUI’s new Mein Schiff 3.
As people seek new ways to explore the world, the global cruise tourism industry is experiencing a surge in interest from new segments ranging from young millennial professionals to retirees. We aim to attract these travellers by firmly positioning Dubai on the cruise map, leveraging our first-rate amenities and adopting best practices from the city’s hospitality sector, which has perfected the art of balancing premium inhouse experiences with singular destination experiences. Thanks to this strategy, we have been able to ensure that cruise tourists arriving in the city have a seamless experience and are greeted with a high level of convenience, comfort and efficiency, be it while catching a concert or show, or shopping in one of Dubai’s iconic souqs. We have already established a natural synergy with Dubai’s aviation industry, and by boosting our capabilities, we want to help travellers discover the best of the Arabian Gulf with ease, comfort and peace of mind.

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