Abu Dhabi to develop new cruise terminal, possibly launch its own liner


Abu Dhabi is looking to invest in its home cruise tourism market, with plans of developing a new terminal, along with the possibility of launching its own liner in the future.

Speaking at yesterday’s Arabian Hotel Investment Conference, Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi’s Tourism Development & Investment Company and the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, said: “The cruise industry is an integral part of Abu Dhabi’s tourism growth. We are looking to increase home tourism, with cruises starting from the emirate.

“We have already started planning for a new cruise terminal, with the site location being submitted. All shall be announced at the right time.”

When quizzed further, Sheikh Sultan said Mina Al Zayed Port is a probable choice, as the basic infrastructure already exists there. Asked if Abu Dhabi may also consider launching its own cruise liner one day, he said: “It is certainly not off the table considering Abu Dhabi has one of the world’s largest shipyards.”

Last month, the emirate announced its Q1 2010 tourism results, with a 19 per cent year-on-year growth. “We are on track for the 10 per cent growth target we have set for the year, with an increase in room inventory to accommodate this increasing demand,” said Sheikh Sultan, adding: “By 2030, we expect 80,000 hotel rooms in the emirate with an eight to 10 per cent growth.”

The possibility of a federal authority was also not ruled out by Sheikh Sultan in a bid to increase tourism prospects for the UAE. He said: “It is important to have a unified approach, which can only be good for the tourism industry as a whole. We already have the National Council of Tourism and Antiquities, which is a federal level entity. Through this we maybe able to launch joint marketing initiatives this year.”