Cruise visitors sail in
New season will see 600,000 arrive in Dubai
The new cruise season will see a projected 600,000 tourists arrive in Dubai via 157 ship calls – an 18 per cent increase over the previous year.
Following a successful 2015/2016 run, which saw passenger numbers grow by 19 per cent and ship calls increase by 24 per cent compared to the previous year, two new lines – Norwegian Cruise Line and Thomson Cruises – will debut in the region with a maiden call.
Also, Thomson Cruises will be the first ever UK-based cruise line to home port in Dubai, contributing more than 12 calls and more than 25,000 cruise tourists.
Dubai’s cruise sector has experienced significant growth since 2014, after the implementation of the Multiple Entry UAE visa, which opened up potential emerging source markets such as India, China, South America and Russia.
With more than 23 of the world’s leading cruise operators – including six home- porting lines – anchoring in Dubai for an overnight stay or passenger turn-around, and an estimated 10 maiden ship calls, the 2016/2017 season is expected to continue the upward trajectory, contributing to Dubai’s goal of 20 million visitors a year by 2020.
Jamal Humaid Al Falasi, Director of Dubai Cruise Tourism, said: “Through our cruise tourism strategy, we aim to bring in one million tourists to Dubai by 2020 and we are heading in the right direction, having welcomed over half a million cruise tourists to Dubai last season.
“Dubai’s growing popularity as a destination is underpinned by the diversity of its attractions as well as its accessibility. With such a broad market of visitors choosing the emirate, cruise offers travellers the chance to view the city from a different perspective.”
The expanded line-up includes Royal Caribbean International’s Ovation of the Seas and MSC’s 4,500 passenger capacity Fantasia.
IN THE LINE UP: Ovation of the Seas