The new Aqaba Cruise Terminal has been inaugurated in Jordan by AD Ports Group, the operator of the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal in Port Zayed in the UAE, with more than 50 cruise calls scheduled for the coming season.
The inauguration of the Aqaba Cruise Terminal coincided with the arrival of MSC Splendida carrying more than 2,000 visitors to Jordan.
MSC Splendida is currently homeporting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, sailing roundtrip cruises in the Red Sea, visiting Aqaba, Sharm El-Sheikh, and Safaga. Aqaba is a popular gateway to the iconic ancient city of Petra, but the cruise port has long been in need of a popular cruise terminal.
The new Aqaba Cruise Terminal marks the launch of the first of five strategic mega-projects planned between AD Ports Group – the global facilitator of logistics, industry and trade – and Aqaba Development Corporation to advance the coastal city’s tourism, logistics and transport sectors.
Under the agreement with Aqaba Development Corporation, AD Ports Group will develop, manage and operate the Aqaba Cruise Terminal.
“As the first and only facility of its kind in the country, the Aqaba Cruise Terminal not only offers an unprecedented opportunity to tap into the fast-growing cruise industry, but also enables us to share our longstanding expertise in operating leading-edge cruise terminals,” said Falah Mohammad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of AD Ports Group.
Nayef Fayez, Chief Commissioner of ASEZA, and Chairman of Aqaba Development Corporation added that the plan was to transform the city of Aqaba into a competitive investment, commercial and tourism destination on the Red Sea.
“The inauguration of the Aqaba Cruise Terminal today aligns with these endeavours,” he said. “We thank our partners at AD Ports Group for believing in the vast potential of Aqaba and for sharing our ongoing efforts to stimulate and enhance sustainable economic activity at one of Jordan’s most vital gateways.”
The Aqaba Cruise Terminal comprises a 700-metre quay wall, passenger and luggage hall, indoor retail spaces, free Wi-Fi, prayer rooms and offices. The facility improves processes, procedures and services and makes Aqaba an attractive destination for cruise lines, thereby increasing ship call opportunities and passenger volumes.
The cruise terminal will also be an integral part of AD Ports Group’s Marsa Zayed, a mega mixed-use waterfront project comprising residential, retail, F&B, commercial and office spaces, hotel and leisure areas designed to bolster Aqaba’s status as a regional tourism and business hub.