At a recent trade-focused meeting between DP World chairman Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem and Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, the UAE port tycoon mentioned ambitions concerning the city’s cruise terminals.
DP World Group Chairman and CEO Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem was discussing moves to tighten trade ties between the UAE and Hong Kong. “Hong Kong and Dubai are at the crossroads of world trade and we share common history as capitals of commerce, where well-developed logistics infrastructure has enabled growth of our economies,” he said.
“We’re also interested in exploring Hong Kong’s cruise terminal business,” he added.
DP World, already the world’s fifth-largest port operations company, has in recent years expanded into cruise terminal operations, expanding the Dubai Cruise Terminal at Port Rashid and opening a new cruise terminal in Limassol.
Now it appears to have its sights set on Hong Kong, the cruise capital of Asia, with 71 cruises departing from the city in 2017, and 132 cruise itineraries featuring Hong Kong as a port of call.
A report last year by Royal Caribbean International, the market leader in Asia, said the region was the world’s fastest growing source of cruise passengers, with a 24 per cent increase in numbers across the region last year and more in China.
The report reveals most new passengers cruise within the region – eight out of ten chose to stay in Asia, with only 16 per cent travelled to Europe and other areas.
They are younger than their American and European counterparts, with 40 per cent under 40 years old, which is a demographic the major cruise lines are desperately trying to attract.