Middle East Cruise News

Dubai forms committee to find ways of supporting Middle East cruise market

There is to be greater integration between Dubai Cruise Terminal and Emirates Airline to make fly-cruising to Dubai more seamless following the launch of the Dubai Cruise Committee.

The group is a network of leading industry partners including Dubai Tourism, DP World, Emirates Airline, The General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs – Dubai, and Dubai Customs.


Cruise ships docked at Dubai Cruise Terminal in Port Rashid.

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It will work on ways to support the growth of Dubai’s cruise tourism sector by removing current hurdles. The organisations have already been working closely for some time, a recent example was the provision of multiple entry visas for Chinese and Indian nationals visiting Dubai to board a cruise ship.

This agreement, however, formalises the partnership. It confirms each organisation’s commitment to work together to increase the number of cruise tourists to Dubai, and to achieve the goal of welcoming one million cruise tourists by the 2020/21 season, a statement said.

The committee has approved business development strategies to secure long term contracts with existing clients and attract new cruise lines to use the emirate as their winter home port in the region.

It also agreed to work to extend Dubai’s cruise season further into the summer months to appeal to additional market segments around the world. This will likely see Emirates Airline working with cruise lines to offer better deals to passengers flying into Dubai to board cruise ships.

“Dubai has been instrumental in pioneering cruise tourism in the region, and our success could not have been achieved without our close working relationships with both the public and private sectors,” said Hamad Bin Mejren, senior VP, Dubai Tourism.


TUI’s Mein Schiff 2 arrives in Port Rashid, Dubai.

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“This landmark agreement signed today by the Dubai Cruise Committee will ensure that international cruise lines will receive an end-to-end support for their plans in Dubai. We are committed to working with our network of strategic partners to continue to build on Dubai Cruise’s success and achieve our target of attracting one million cruise tourists by the 2020/21 cruise season.”

Dubai Cruise Committee members will implement combined international marketing activities to raise awareness with a global audience of cruise enthusiast. This will address one of the primary concerns of cruise line executives regarding homeporting in Dubai.

According to Andy Stuart, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line, there needs to be even greater demand for Dubai cruises internationally. “We see Dubai as a region of huge potential for Norwegian, but the demand isn’t quite there yet, at least for our passengers, for us to base a ship in the region,” he told Cruise Arabia & Africa.

Incentives will also be launched that will encourage cruise lines to not only increase the number of ships they deploy to Dubai but also to increase the period of time that the lines operate in the region each year.

Dubai tourism officials see the extension of the Middle East cruise market as a key way to attract more cruise passengers to the region, and make it more profitable for cruise lines operating in the region during the shoulder season.

Dubai welcomed over 625,000 cruise tourists to the city during the 2016/2017 season, reflecting an increase of over 15 percent compared to the previous season and doubling of passengers compared to three years ago.

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