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Dubai to attract over 381,000 cruise passengers this season

Passenger numbers are likely to rise by 19% over 2013/2014

Dubai: More than 381,000 cruise passengers are expected to arrive at Dubai’s Mina Rashid this season (October 2014 to June 2015).
Passenger numbers are likely to rise by 19 per cent over the 2013/2014 season, with an additional 60,000 travellers set to embark, disembark or transit at the port, according to a statement from Dubai Cruise Tourism, part of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), on Sunday.
The emirate is likely to see 110 cruise ship calls this season. Six vessels, which are using Dubai Cruise Terminal as their home port, are expected to make 83 trips from 63 last season.
Dubai’s cruise season is already picking up steam as the weather cools. More than 39,954 passengers and crew are expected to arrive at Mina Rashid between November 15 and the end of the month. Nine of the 11 ships will be staying overnight in Dubai.

“The industry is growing. We see ships becoming more full. More cruise lines are using Dubai for hub operations. [It is] an ideal winter deployment destination,” said Jyoti Panchmatia, general manager for the Gulf at Travco, a destination management company in Dubai, by phone.
Cruise lines like Costa, Aida, MSC and TUI are in Dubai this season. Royal Caribbean International, which exited the Dubai market in 2013 because it did not record the expected revenue, said in March that it will be returning for next season (2015/2016).
Traditional markets
“Not only are we actively seeking to increase the volume of cruise travellers from the traditional source markets of North America and Western Europe, but we are also looking to attract first time global cruise travellers from China and the Far East, as well as India and the subcontinent,” stated Hamad Bin Mejren, executive director of business tourism at DTCM.
DTCM expects the emirate’s cruise sector to have further sustained growth, helped by the opening of a new 27,000 square metre terminal at Mina Rashid by year-end, which could allow it to handle up to five cruise ships simultaneously, and the implementation of a multiple-entry visa for cruise tourists.
The new visa rule, which took effect August 1, allows tourists to enter the UAE though any of its ports, travel out of them and come back on the same visa. The visa, which costs Dh200, is valid for 60 days from the date of issue to the first entry into the UAE. After the first entry, it is valid for 30 days.
Bin Mejren expects Dubai to attract 450,000 cruise tourists annually by 2016 from around 386,000 in 2013, and to have “continued, sustainable growth into 2020 and beyond.”
Dubai aims to attract a million cruise tourists by 2020.

By Sarah Algethami,
Staff Reporter
Published: 18:46 November 23, 2014
Gulf New