Dubai’s cruise season heats up as the weather cools and new cruise visa becomes available. Mina Rashid set to welcome 110 ship calls carrying more than 381,000 passengers through to season end in June 2015. Seasonal growth up 19 per cent on last year, with even greater opportunities ahead says Dubai Tourism Executive Director. New UAE multi-entry cruise visa now available for cruise tourists. Dubai’s cruise season, which began in late October with the arrival of the Rotterdam, heated up this weekend as the weather cooled. From Saturday 15 November until the end of the month Mina Rashid will welcome a total of 11 ship calls carrying more than 39,954 passengers and crew, with nine of the 11 vessels staying overnight in Dubai.
Dubai Cruise Tourism, part of Dubai Tourism, is set for a busy season, with a total of 110 cruise ship calls carrying more than 381,000 passengers arriving over the next seven months. Passenger numbers are set to rise by 19 per cent on the 2013/2014 season, meaning an additional 60,000 sea-travellers will embark, disembark or transit at Mina Rashid, Dubai.
Dubai Tourism forecasts further sustained growth for the cruise sector, spurred by the upcoming opening of an additional new 27,000m2 terminal at Mina Rashid later this season and the implementation of the new cost effective Multiple Entry UAE visa for cruise tourists.
Hamad bin Mejren, Executive Director – Dubai Tourism said: “This is a very exciting cruise season for Dubai. We are set to record significant growth in ship calls and in passenger numbers, we are expanding our facilities with the opening of a new terminal, and the new multiple-entry UAE cruise visa is now available – which ensure we are providing an increasingly attractive destination offering for cruise tourists seeking winter sun in our incredible city, Dubai.
“We have set ambitious growth targets for cruise as part of our Dubai Tourism Vision for 2020 as we aim to become the world’s leading destination for family tourism. Not only are we actively seeking to increase the volume of cruise travellers from the traditional source markets of North America and Western Europe, but we are also looking to attract first time global cruise travellers from China and the Far East, as well as India and the sub-continent. We also believe there is a real opportunity to grow intra-regional cruise tourism with our GCC neighbours which is why we expect to welcome 450,000 annual cruise tourists by 2016 and to record continued, sustainable growth into 2020 and beyond.”
Dubai Residency and Nationalization Department confirmed that following an initial announcement in August about the introduction of the new cruise visa that this documentation is now available for travellers. Tourists entering the country to take a cruise who require entry into multiple UAE ports – for example Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Khorfakkan – can apply for the new visa through their cruise line, either at the time or after booking. The visa is valid for 60 days from the date of issue to the first entry into UAE. After the first entry, the visa remains valid for 30 days.
Cruise Arabia is a collaborative initiative formed by Oman’s Ministry of Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing to promote the region as a cruise destination. The Arabian Gulf is already one of the world’s top three cruise destinations for winter sun and Dubai is the home port of choice for cruise operators in the region – including Costa, Aida, Royal Caribbean, MSC and TUI – offering the largest cruise facility in the Middle East.
The Cruise Arabia partners have committed to making a significant investment to the cruise industry across the region, developing segment infrastructure and creating current and future employment opportunities. A key aim of the partnership is to encourage a new generation of tourists to cruise in the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, spanning new travellers from traditional markets in Europe and North America as well as those from emerging markets including China, India and the GCC.
This season, the number of vessels using Dubai Cruise Terminal as their home port increases to six and these vessels are expected to make a total of 83 trips in comparison to 63 trips in the 2013/2014 season. Frequent cruises from Dubai start with a minimum of four nights travel, and include seven, 12 and 14 night itineraries covering the Arabian Gulf, India and Sri Lanka.
Other ships calling at Dubai come from and leave for the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, North Africa, India and Sri Lanka, the Far East, Australia, and North America, as well as destinations closer to home in the Arabian Gulf.