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Dubai Lures New Liners

Dubai's cruise tourism steams ahead

Jan 12, 2010

DUBAI - Dubai's nascent cruise industry is set to buck the global downturn with a predicted 30 per cent surge in passenger traffic in 2010 as the emirate gears up to lure increased number of bigger luxury cruise liners to its modern terminal facility, Emirates news agency said quoting a report in "Khaleej Times."

The new Dubai Cruise Terminal, designed to handle up to four ships, is likely to become fully operational on January 23, enabling bigger cruise liners to bring tourists.

Spread over an area of 3,450 square metres, the new terminal will help Dubai reinforce its image as a destination of choice for cruise liners, said Hamad Mohammed bin Mejren, Executive Director Business Tourism at the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, or DTCM.

"We expect to receive 120 ships and more than 325,000 passengers at the new state-of-the art terminal this year," he said.

In 2009, Dubai, which is a regional base for leading operators including Costa Cruises and Royal Caribbean, drew 100 vessels and around 260,000 tourists, up 37 per cent on the previous year.

"Dubai is steaming ahead and we look forward to a period of tremendous growth in cruise tourism segment. Cruise tourists are becoming an increasingly important part of Dubai's tourism industry," said Mejren.

Costa Cruises made Dubai its regional cruise hub in 2007, a move that helped put Dubai - strategically located at the crossroads between east and west - firmly on the global cruise map, said Mejren.

This year, the burgeoning cruise industry will get a further boost when the latest jewel of the Costa Cruises fleet - Costa Deliziosa - will be named in Dubai on February 23 during her grand maiden cruise, starting from Savona on February 5.

"The naming ceremony will further strengthen the ties between Costa Cruises, Italy's largest tourism group and Europe's number one cruise company, and the DTCM," said Fabrizia Greppi, Costa Cruises Vice-President for Corporate Marketing and Communications.

Despite the challenges faced by the global tourism industry, global cruise sector maintained the pace in 2009 with 14 million passengers while about 1.2 million guests chose to go cruising with Costa, a record for the European cruise industry. This year, the Italian company expects to carry 1.5 million tourists, Greppi said.

She said Costa believes in the value of Dubai as a cruise destination.

"Thanks to our four-year-partnership with DTCM, we are boosting our presence in the Gulf by bringing more ships to Dubai. We expect a 40 per cent increase of our guests cruising to Dubai in 2010, with an estimated economic impact of 14 million Euros for the city," she said onboard the luxury liner Costa Luminosa that is berthed at Dubai Cruise Terminal.

This year, Costa's three ships operating in the Gulf sector, out of a fleet of 15 ships, are expected to bring 140,000 passenger movements to Dubai thanks to the presence of three ships for a total of 32 calls, said Greppi.

Mejren said the DTCM expects to receive in 2011 135 ships with 375,000 passengers followed by 150 ships with 425,000 passengers in 2012, 165 ships with 475,000 passengers in 2013 and 180 ships with 525,000 passengers in 2014 and 195 ships with 575,000 passengers in 2015.

This month, Royal Caribbean International, or RCI will become the second major cruise line to base a ship in Dubai. The US line will be deploying Brilliance of the Seas in Dubai for seven night cruises between January and April 2010.

Dubai's cruise tourism steams ahead
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