Sharjah sees 80,000 cruise tourists in 2015-16

Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (Supplied)

Sharjah is expected to receive nearly 80,000 cruise tourists during 2015-16, said a senior official.

“Cruise tourists will make a crucial chunk of the visitors to the emirate in coming years as we aim to attract more than 10 million tourists as part of the Sharjah Tourism Vision 2021,” said Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA).

Al Midfa said Sharjah is preparing for a period of busy cruise activity during the 2015-16 season with as many as 37 calls, predominately from liners such as ‘TUI Cruises’, ‘MSC Cruises’ and ‘Costa Cruises’ and ‘AIDA Cruises’.

“These calls will bring an estimated 80,000 cruise passengers to the emirate, mostly from European countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the UK,” Al Midfa said.

“Cruise tourism has picked up in Sharjah in recent years as the emirate has enhanced its cruise tourism facilities. Sharjah has two deep sea ports -- Khorfakkan and Khalid – and is the only emirate with direct access to both Arabian Gulf and Gulf of Oman. Sharjah is an attractive destination for cruise tourists with its authentic Arabian cultural and tourism experience. Besides, the emirate provides cruise tourists easy visa processing and world-class amenities and leisure opportunities,” Al Midfa added.

Sharjah has developed its Khorfakkan port, a natural deep water port on the Arabian Sea which offers a safe and secure destination for the visitors. The emirate has been attracting major international cruise carriers with its rich diversity of tourism packages. Upon arrival, the tourists are welcomed with special cultural and heritage events, and offered a variety of tourism experiences, including activities such as diving, dune bashing, kayaking and shopping.

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