Middle East Cruise News

‘We plan to push Expo 2020 in all marketing for Dubai ahead of 2020/21 season’ says MSC Cruises

The Expo 2020 will be a major draw for the 2020/21 cruise season in Dubai and MSC Cruises plans to actively promote it to the more than 180,000 cruise passengers it will carry in the region next year, says Angelo Capurro, Executive Director for Emerging Markets, MSC Cruises.

“The Expo 2020 will be one the largest events ever to be held in the region,” he told Cruise Arabia & Africa during a tour of MSC Bellissima in Dubai. “We’ll be leveraging the high-profile nature of the event on our Dubai cruise itineraries.”

MSC Bellissima is the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in the region

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In particular, he said that MSC Cruises would be providing a complimentary entrance ticket and transport from Port Rashid to the Expo site and back on all of MSC Lirica’s cruises in the region next year.

MSC Lirica is one of two cruise ships MSC is homeporting in Dubai for the winter cruise season in the Arabian Gulf (the other being MSC Seaview).

The cruise line’s plans for the Expo come after a spokesperson for the event previously told Cruise Arabia & Africa that the booming Middle East cruise sector would be a major potential source of visitors.

More than 1-million cruise passengers are expected to cruise from Dubai in the 2020/21 cruise season between November and March, aboard ten cruise ships homeporting in the city.

The Expo 2020 will run from October 20th, 2020, to April 10th, 2021, and will be the first world’s fair held anywhere in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. It will feature individual pavilions from 192 countries and is expected to attract 25 million visitors, 70 percent of them international.

The wider travel sector will be a major source of visitors as well, according to Sumathi Ramanathan, director of destination marketing for the Expo.

“We will be reliant on the trade,” Ramanathan told Travel Pulse, “we are talking to cruise lines, tour operators, agent groups, the gamut of the industry.”

MSC Lirica is homeporting in Dubai for her winter Arabian Gulf cruise season

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She said that the early findings are that most travel bookers are choosing a three-day pass for international visitors or a two-day stopover (such as that mentioned by MSC Cruises ) for those on their way elsewhere.

The theme of Expo 2020 will be “Connecting Minds: Creating the Future.” There will be three sub-themes: opportunity (unlocking potential of individuals and communities), mobility (transportation) and sustainability (environmental issues.) Each country will have a pavilion within one of those sub-themes.

The expo will cover 1,000 acres, the size of more than 600 soccer fields or almost twice the size of Monaco. The centerpiece will be the Al Wasl Plaza, “the Eiffel Tower of the expo” (the Eiffel Tower was the centerpiece of a Paris exposition in the 19th century).

It will be 17 stories tall and cover an expanse equivalent to 16 tennis courts.

There will be more than 60 live events daily – including concerts, ballet, opera, light shows, parades and much more. La Scala, the opera company, is coming to the Italy pavilion. This is also the first expo in history to be held in the winter and the weather is expected to be moderate.

Expo 2020 will offer 200 dining options representing more than 50 countries. Each pavilion will have dining options and there will also be food halls.

“It will be an incredible experience for any traveler,” says Ramanathan.

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