Saudi Arabia has signed an agreement for the construction of a cruise terminal in Dammam on the country’s Arabian Gulf east coast, along with the development of four cruise berths.
Dammam will welcome its first cruise passengers during MSC Cruises’ upcoming cruise season out of Dubai for 2021/22, making a cruise terminal an essential part of its infrastructure.
Cruise tourism officials in the country have recognized this and have entered an agreement with the Saudi Ports Authority (MAWANI) and Globe Group to build a cruise terminal in Dammam’s King Abdulaziz Port.
Cruise Saudi, the cruise tourism arm of the country’s tourism agency, is leading the project, after redeveloping the ferry terminal in Jeddah into a cruise terminal, while simultaneously developing an “iconic” purpose-built terminal in the port as well.
The contract for the cruise terminal project in Dammam was signed Sunday by Omar Bin Talal Hariri, President of MAWANI, Fawaz Farooqui, Managing Director of Cruise Saudi, and Maad Abduljawad, CEO of Globe Group.
“We are pleased to support the National Transport and Logistics Strategy with the development of a cruise terminal and deeper berths to accommodate international cruise liners,” said Hariri.
“This agreement further elevates Saudi Arabia’s position as a leader in the cruise industry and enhances the visitor experience for guests in the Kingdom,” he added. “We will continue to work together with our partners to develop a sustainable, thriving marine transport ecosystem.”
Saudi Arabian opened up to cruise tourism this year and sees the industry as a major contributor to its economic diversification away from a reliance on the export of oil.
The government has developed an ambitious Vision 2030 plan that aims to steer the country into a more economically sustainable future.
MAWANI has been a key partner to Cruise Saudi as it develops the cruise industry in the country, implementing regulations and developing infrastructure to support cruises along the coastlines of the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea.
Earlier this year, MAWANI and Cruise Saudi announced the opening of the first cruise terminal at Jeddah Islamic Port, from which the MSC Bellissima set sail on its maiden voyage to destinations across the region on July 30th.
A series of training programs for Saudi professionals was also announced within various maritime industries in collaboration with MSC Cruises as part of Saudi Arabia’s plans to create more local jobs through its Vision 2030 initiative.