The number of ships passing through the Dubai Cruise Terminal rose to 82 by the end of last year, up from 55 the previous year, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said yesterday. Khalid bin Sulayem, the director general of the DTCM, said the results were promising and he hoped the emirate could develop cruise tourism further.
"Cruise tourism plays a crucial role in the overall growth and development of the tourism industry in Dubai," Mr bin Sulayem said. "We realised its importance long ago and created the infrastructure and services that were needed to tap its potential." The DTCM-operated terminal at the Port Rashid complex received 182,030 passengers last year, compared with 113,907 the year before. "There has been an impressive growth in cruise tourist arrivals since the start of the Dubai Cruise Terminal," Mr bin Sulayem said, adding that most of the cruise tourists came from the UK, Germany and the US.
A recent survey conducted by DTCM found 80 per cent of cruise passengers in Dubai said they would extend their stay to the emirate on their next visit, while 95 per cent said they would recommend others to visit Dubai. This year, the DTCM is expecting to receive 101 ships and 316,043 passengers. Dubai welcomed its first cruise ship, with 703 passengers on board, in 1993. The DTCM is building a new cruise terminal that it hopes will be operational by the next cruise season, which begins in September.
The current terminal is operating from a temporary base consisting of tents measuring 1,800 square metres each, and has space for five berths. Costa Cruises, one of the largest US-based cruise companies, said last year it planned to keep two of its ships based in Dubai. Costa Deliziosa, starting from next year, will be based in the emirate from March to May, alongside Costa Luminosa, which is being named in Genoa in June and will be based in Dubai between December and April.
Both will host seven-night cruises visiting Muscat, Oman, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi and Manama City in Bahrain. In the 2007-2008 winter season, Costa brought 105,000 tourists to Dubai. firstname.lastname@example.org