UAE developer Meraas has signed a strategic deal with Carnival Corporation, a US-based cruise company and the world's largest travel leisure company, to transform Dubai into a major regional maritime tourism hub.
The agreement was signed by Abdulla Al Habbai, group chairman of Meraas, and Arnold W Donald, chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation.
Under the agreement, the companies will collaborate across several strategic areas including port development, terminal management and new cruise development opportunities at Dubai Harbour and the broader region.
The deal follows the recent approval by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to make the Dubai Cruise Terminal as the main hub for cruise tourism in Dubai.
Dubai is set to become central to Carnival Corporation’s operations in the region. The agreement mandates Carnival Corporation to assist Meraas in ensuring the cruise terminal meets the highest international standards of the cruise industry, while the relevant authorities will be responsible for security, immigration and customs.
The plan is part of Dubai Tourism Vision 2020, which aims to attract 20 million visitors a year to the emirate.
Sheikh Mohammed said: "We welcome visitors from across the world and provide them with an exceptional tourism experience. We want them to leave with lasting memories that they can share in their countries and communities. The continuous development of infrastructure has enabled our country to be a destination of choice in the region."
Operations at the Dubai Cruise Terminal are scheduled to commence in October 2020.
Commenting on the signing of the agreement, Al Habbai said: “The development of the Dubai Cruise Terminal reflects Meraas' commitment to implementing the vision and strategic plans of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to enhance Dubai’s global standing as a world-class business and leisure tourism destination. Dubai Harbour is a new and unique addition to the city’s infrastructure and our alignment with DP World to make Dubai Cruise Terminal the main cruise terminal in the emirate will drive the transformation of Dubai into a fully integrated maritime tourism hub.”
He added: “In line with the agreement with Carnival Corporation, the cruise hub at Dubai Harbour will reinforce Dubai's status as an ideal holiday destination, a starting point for cruises to exclusive destinations and a gateway to exploring the world. Our partnership will enhance the city’s tourism offering with new options for families, such as sharia-compliant tours.”
According to the Cruise Lines Industry Association (CLIA), more than 40 million people worldwide will travel on cruise ships annually by 2030, a 40 per cent increase from 26 million passengers in 2017.
At a local level, the maritime tourism sector is expected to contribute more than Dh1.5 billion ($408.3 million) to Dubai’s economy by 2030.
The Dubai Cruise Terminal at Dubai Harbour will become Carnival Corporation’s primary hub for its homeporting and transit operations in the region. The partnership will also result in both parties working together to identify and grow the cruise tourism business in the Arabian Gulf region.
Speaking on the agreement, Donald said: “We have a long history in Dubai with our world-leading cruise brands. We are excited to be part of this important venture that will drive new tourism opportunities for Dubai and the region through cruising.”
Carnival Corporation will launch new cruises from Dubai Cruise Terminal and aims to attract new source markets from India and China
Launched in January 2017 by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Harbour will be located on King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud Street in the Mina Seyahi area and is set to span 20 million sq ft.
The development will feature a shopping mall, luxury residential units, restaurants, cafés, hotels and a yacht club, as well as Dubai Lighthouse, a 135-metre high architectural masterpiece with a viewing platform offering stunning panoramic views of Dubai.
In addition, Dubai Harbour will boast the largest yacht marina in the Middle East and North Africa with 1,100 berths capable of accommodating some of the world's largest yachts up to 150 m.
The project is being developed in phases and will create synergies with some of Dubai’s other iconic projects located in the area, including Bluewaters. - TradeArabia News Service