Abu Dhabi Ports, the master developer, operator and manager of the Emirate's commercial and community ports as well as Khalifa Industrial Zone, KIZAD, has announced the close of its best-ever cruise season at Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal with the maiden call of Princess Cruise Lines’ Majestic Princess.
The company recorded a growth for the year with a 40 percent increase in vessel calls and 48 percent overall increase in passengers to Zayed Port and Sir Bani Yas from last year. The 2016/2017 cruise season saw more than 345,662 tourists visit the Emirate, up from 232,605 in 2015/2016. Likewise, vessel numbers increased from 115 in 2015/2016 to 161 in 2016/2017.
Abu Dhabi Port’s two cruise destinations are Zayed Port and the Sir Bani Yas Island Cruise Beach, which was launched during last year’s season as the first dedicated cruise beach and eco-tourism stopover.
Following on last season’s success with a 16 percent growth in passengers, this year the company recorded a 48 percent increase in passengers arriving at the terminals, close to six times the eight percent increase expected by the company last year.
Captain Mohamed Al Shamisi, Chief Executive Officer of Abu Dhabi Ports said that the record-breaking season was testament to the growth of Abu Dhabi, as a global hub for both commerce and tourism.
"For several years, we have made significant investments in our port infrastructure and tourism offerings to build a world-class cruise hub here in Abu Dhabi. We offer market-leading services to provide cruise passengers with value added services that address all their needs, and support the maritime tourism sector’s role in enhancing Abu Dhabi’s appeal as a leading tourism hub. Today, I’m proud to say that the Company’s vision and strategy is paying off with another record-breaking year," said Captain Al Shamisi.
Commenting on the end of the season, Abdulkareem Al Masabi, Executive Vice President of Ports at Abu Dhabi Ports, said, "Since developing the cruise terminal we have worked diligently and closely with cruise lines to promote Abu Dhabi as a unique travel destination. We launched Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach as a 'must visit' destination on cruise liner routes this season, which has contributed to a 40 percent growth in number of vessel calls this season, doubling last year’s forecast of 21 percent increase for 2016/2017."
Calls by maiden vessels like the Majestic Princess promise a brighter future for the Abu Dhabi cruise tourism industry as a whole as well as the company. Cruise ships from European and American markets now select Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminals as preferred destinations on their routes. The top 10 nationalities arriving at the cruise terminal include Germany at 48 percent, the UK at 21 percent, followed by Italy at 10 percent, Russia at 5 percent, the Netherlands with 4 percent, USA and Spain at 3 percent, and Belgium, Switzerland and Austria at 2 percent each.
While most years the company has typically seen the cruise season end in late April/early May, the Majestic Princess vessel’s arrival at the terminal this June is testament to passenger demand to experience Abu Dhabi. It also underscores the important role that Abu Dhabi Ports, in partnership with Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, is playing as the Emirate delivers against Vision 2030 and the national economic diversification strategy.