Travel, Tourism & Hospitality

Abu Dhabi welcomed over 500,000 cruise visitors during 2019

Maritime tourism in Abu Dhabi witnessed impressive growth in 2019, as the emirate welcomed more than 518,000 cruise visitors at its ports throughout the year - a 46 per cent increase compared to 2018.

Similarly, the number of cruise calls increased by 43 per cent in 2019 to reach a total of 193.

Following the cruise tourism success of 2019, the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced a number of key maritime initiatives for 2020 to further boost tourism in the sector.

The activities cover both the cruise and yachting sectors, in an effort to attract at least 556,000 cruise visitors and 80 superyachts in 2020.

“The success we have achieved in the past year is a testament to Abu Dhabi’s position as a world-class hub for maritime tourism. Working closely with our partners at Abu Dhabi Ports and the Department of Municipal Affairs and Transport, we have achieved a record-breaking number of maritime tourists for 2019,” said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, acting executive director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi.

“For 2020, we will build on this success to attract even more businesses and tourists to the UAE capital and to continue to provide them with exceptional service and extraordinary experiences. Our goal is to improve navigation and accessibility, provide unrivalled luxury and service, and encourage tourists to explore Abu Dhabi and its diverse offerings.”

A survey of the cruise visitors found they expressed a high level of satisfaction with the services at Abu Dhabi’s cruise terminals, with an 85 per cent overall satisfaction level with the Sir Bani Yas terminal and 90 per cent with the Zayed Port facilities.

“Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminals has helped facilitate the success of our tourism sector through its world-class facilities, quality of service, and strategic investments and partnerships with the world’s leading cruise operators,” said Noura Rashid Al Dhaheri, director of Cruise Business at Abu Dhabi Ports.

“Since we welcomed the maiden call of a cruise liner to Zayed Port in 2008, all our efforts have been geared towards cementing Abu Dhabi as a regional hub on the international cruise map. At Abu Dhabi Ports, we are committed to realising the full potential of our cruise infrastructure in order to accommodate greater capacities and provide visitors with the ultimate cruise experience.”

Abu Dhabi is also set to ramp up destination development efforts to further grow maritime tourism in the UAE capital in 2020. As part of its strategy, DCT Abu Dhabi announced a number of initiatives that will take place throughout the year. These include local events and projects as well as participation in international events to promote the destination to global audiences.

Throughout the year, DCT Abu Dhabi will be participating in a number of international maritime tourism events, alongside its partners at Abu Dhabi Ports, Etihad Airways. The events include Anantara's Seatrade Cruise Global, the largest cruise industry forum in the world, which takes place from April 21-23 in Miami, Florida, and Seatrade Cruise Med, a Mediterranean-focussed edition of Seatrade taking place in Malaga, Spain from September 15-17.

Abu Dhabi will be partaking in the Monaco Yacht Show, the world’s premier yachting industry event, between September 23-26, as well as the Dubai Boat Show and Dubai Superyacht Summit from March 10-14. Additionally, the Abu Dhabi International Boat Show 2020 will once again take place in the UAE capital from October 14-17.

Abu Dhabi is also seeing the development of several landmark projects and events in this sector. Among the most prominent of these is Al Qana, the 2.4-kilometre canal project, which is set to open later this year. The newly opened Marsa Mina at Mina Zayed Port will be hosting a number of family entertainment events and activities to provide cruise tourists with memorable experiences during their visits to the capital. Also, in the coming months, Abu Dhabi’s cruise terminals will see the return dockings of top cruise liners including MSC Bellissima, MSC Lirica, AIDAprima, Costa Diadema, MS Jewel of the Seas, MV Horizon, and Mein Schiff 5. - TradeArabia News Service