DUBAI – Dubai’s strategic vision for cruise tourism targets one million cruise passengers to visit the emirate per year starting 2020, revealed Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.
The strategy was the focus at a meeting that brought together Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Major General Mohammed Ahmed Al Marri Director General, General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs-Dubai, Hilal Saeed Al Marri as Director General of Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing, Ahmed Mahboob, Director of Dubai Customs, Emirates Airline officials. They discussed their future approach to boost the share of cruise tourism in the overall tourism industry in Dubai, in line with Dubai Vision 2020 which aims to attract 20 million tourists a year.
Mina Rashid is, at the moment, the number one cruise terminal in the MENA region, in terms of traffic and infrastructure. “Our goal now is to go all-out and make the passenger-friendly facility the best in the world. To that end, we have 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,” said Bin Sulayem.
Bin Sulayem announced that expansions are currently taking place at Mina Rashid. “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.
“We are committed to investing in the transformation of Mina Rashid into the cruise destination of choice for cruise liners. We aim to increase the number of cruise ships calling Dubai Cruise Terminals in order to meet our target of one million cruise passengers a year by 2020.
“In addition, there is a plan to build a marina for luxury yachts at Mina Rashid, in response to the high demand worldwide for luxury yachts berths,” said Bin Sulayem.
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 for 7 mega cruise vessels at one time.
The on-going 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% growth in the number of cruise ships and a 33% increase in cruise passengers traffic between the 2015 –2016 and 2014- 2015 cruise seasons, from 109 ships and 373,000 passengers to 134 ships and more than 500,000 passengers. The growth trend is set to continue in the 2016-2017 season, with 155 cruise vessel calls (16% growth) and 650,000 passengers (30% growth), according to pre-bookings.
The Chairman and CEO of DP World and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation pointed out that the busy cruise season for Mina Rashid runs from November to April. “However, we do have few ships calling the cruise and leisure terminal during October, May and June. The majority of the ships are home porting, which supports our vision in attracting 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.”