DUBAI’S status as the top cruise destination will be further underlined by the arrival of 50 cruise ships during the cruise tourism’s winter season starting this month.
Some of the vessels will be making their Middle East debut and are scheduled to bring in 64,993 passengers and crew, according to the emirate’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
“The arrival of a record number of cruise ships over a six month period speaks volumes about the status Dubai enjoys on the world cruise tourism map,” said DTCM director general Khalid Bin Sulayem.
DTCM and Dubai Cruise Terminal officials are co-ordinating with the other government organisations like the Dubai Ports Authority, Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department and Dubai Customs to handle the winter season rush. They are also holding discussions with the suppliers, cruise tour operators and ground handling agencies on issues related to cruise tourism.
Luxury cruise ships, including the Queen Mary 2, Costa Classica, AIDAcara and Black Watch will make their debut in the Middle East this season, using Dubai.
Bin Sulayem said the depart-ment’s aggressive promotional and marketing agenda has been helping in getting the world enlightened about Dubai as an ideal year-round business and leisure destination and the strengths of its cruise tourism industry.
The ship-shaped terminal, opened in 2001 and is able to accommodate two ships simultaneously on a 335-metre quay. In 2005, Dubai handled cruise ships with nearly 13,000 passenger movements. Dubai expects 20,000 cruise passengers in 2006 and 30,000 in 2007.
The bulk of cruise tourists come from the UK, Germany and the US markets. In a survey, 80 per cent of the cruise passengers in Dubai revealed that they would extend their visit to the emirate during their next visit and 95 per cent would recommend visiting Dubai to friends and family.
The terminal is the world's first to receive ISO-9002 certification.