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New cruise terminal to be built

By Amjad Abu Al Ezz


The number of visitors arriving in Dubai by sea is expected to witness record growth this year – prompting officials to draw up plans for a new cruise ship terminal. Officials said 100 per cent more tourists will arrive at Port Rashid compared to 2006 – a rise from 85,000 to an estimated 200,000 this year.

Awad Al Saghir, executive director of the Conventions Bureau, Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce (DTCM), said: “The cruise terminal project is still under study. We have the option of constructing a new moorage or expanding existing facilities, especially amid the growing number of ships that visit the moorage currently.”

Last year, 150,000 visitors alighted in Dubai and there were around 65 visits by tourist ships to the emirate. The largest number of cruise visitors were from Europe, especially from Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom. Al Saghir confirmed the growing demand for marine tourism has propelled DTCM to concentrate on the sector. The entire Gulf region is witnessing a boom in the cruise industry and DTCM is now making regular appearances at marine tourism fairs in the United States, Europe and Dubai to promote the industry.

Meanwhile, Khalid A bin Sulayem, director-general of the department, said authorities are currently looking at taking over the management of a cruise terminal in the region to supplement marine tourism, now that Dubai has gained significant experience in running ports and receiving cruise ships.

Bin Sulayem said: “We will try to transform our experience to neighbouring marinas in an attempt to reach integration and to support the region’s tourism industry.” The department will release more details once a deal is reached, he added.

At the moment, DTCM co-ordinates with nearby tourist ports in Oman, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.