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Cruise visitors to Abu Dhabi increase 16%

posted on 21/06/2016: 1315 views

With an increase of 16 per cent in passengers and 20 per cent in vessel calls, the region's cruise season 2015-16 has come to a close, says Abu Dhabi Ports.

The Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal has a key role in expanding the tourism industry and achieving Abu Dhabi's economic diversification.

The cruise season saw 231,660 tourists, compared to 35,366 passengers who arrived at Zayed Port 10 years ago during the 2006-07 season. The sharp increase in visitors arriving by sea comes on the heels of last year's launch of the new Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal.

The new terminal not only boasts state-of-the-art technology, but also provides visitors with a taste of the emirate's heritage by incorporating national icons such as the UAE's traditional dhow sailing vessels and its national tree into its architectural design.

"This impressive double-digit growth in the face of economic headwinds is a remarkable achievement and further strengthens Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal's role in boosting the country's tourism industry," said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports.

The season saw 113 cruise ships call at Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal, marking a 20 per cent year-on-year growth.

"Cruise operators have been promoting Abu Dhabi and the region within their itineraries with great success," explained Noura Rashid Al Dhaheri, cruise terminal manager at Abu Dhabi Ports.

For tourists from Europe, Abu Dhabi is the ultimate 'winter sun cruise destination.'

Tourists from Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom made up 80 per cent of cruise visitors to Abu Dhabi in the 2015-16 season, while Spain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Austria were equally well represented.

MSC Cruises and AIDA Cruises were the first cruise line operators to choose Abu Dhabi and Zayed Port's new permanent terminal as their home port.

Nearly 18 per cent of the total passenger footfall this season arrived on home porting vessels, a significant increase on previous years and a healthy boost to Abu Dhabi's tourism and culture sectors.

The upcoming cruise season is set to further enhance Abu Dhabi's cruise tourism industry and offer more options to cruise passengers.

Abu Dhabi Ports is currently developing the luxury, award-winning Sir Bani Yas Island to be the Arabian Gulf's first beach and eco-tourism stopover for cruise ships.

Sir Bani Yas is one of the largest natural islands in the UAE and a nature and wildlife island reserve. The island already features three luxury hotel resorts and a range of activities, especially in water sports.

Once the beachfront is fully developed, Sir Bani Yas Island will boast boardwalks, barbecue facilities, hammocks and cabanas along the beach, dining facilities as well as water sports activities.

For the 2016-17 cruise season, Sir Bani Yas Island is set to receive 39 cruise ships with an expected 65,000 passengers. – Khaleej Times -


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