Cruise Industry

Cruise Saudi increases Saudization efforts as it leads shoreside job creation in Kingdom

Cruise Saudi, the government agency tasked with growing Saudi Arabia’s local cruise sector and global appeal as a cruise destination, has reported it has reached a ‘Saudization’ rate of 71 percent since its launch in 2021.

The announcement was made on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market 2023 in Dubai. Cruise Saudi CEO Lars Clasen said the agency was aiming to increase the employment of Saudi Arabian nationals in a sector that traditionally relied on foreign employees.

Cruise Saudi is aiming to create 50,000 shoreside jobs through the Kingdom’s growth as a cruise destination, which will be supported by an annual influx of more than 1 million cruise passengers by 2035.

Lars Clasen, CEO, Cruise Saudi

“Cruise Saudi plans to create 50,000 direct and indirect jobs in Saudi Arabia by 2035, benefiting the local workforce,” Clasen told Arab News, adding that they are also actively encouraging women’s empowerment.

Clasen said women constitute for 34 percent of his workforce, holding managerial positions in the operations and business development departments, as well as the general terminal and port services and ground operations.

Cruise Saudi aims to strengthen the Kingdom’s tourist sector by attracting 1.3 million cruise visitors by 2035, which will represent an increase in the tourism sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product to 10 percent.

“Establishing cruising as a new pillar to Saudi’s rapidly expanding tourism industry is a significant undertaking,” said Clansen.

Cruise Saudi has already developed cruise infrastructure in three existing commercial ports in Saudi Arabia, including Jeddah Islamic Port, Yanbu Commercial Port and King Abdulaziz Port.

During the most recent cruise season, which began in November 2022 and ended in May 2023, the Kingdom welcomed a record number of cruise tourists.

“We saw 192,714 passengers from 100 different countries visiting Saudi,” Clasen said.

Cruise Saudi also has plans to develop Saudi Arabia as a local source market for cruises, and is working with the high-end hotel brand Aman to build a 183-meter ultra-luxury yacht. The vessel will have 27 suites and is due to commence cruising by 2027.

Cruise Saudi also recently acquired the former World Dream from the defunct Asian cruise line Dream Cruises. The mammoth 5,000-plus passenger cruise ship has been renamed Manama and will reportedly be put into service for the Saudi Arabian market, but Cruise Saudi has not revealed any further detailed plans for the vessel.

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