DUBAI – The fledgling cruise industry in Dubai is fast picking up this year with 117,227 tourists in the emirate booked to go on world cruise aboard 99 cruise liners set to drop anchor at the Port Rashid Cruise Terminal all the year round.
Records at the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) show a total of only 68,031 tourists from Dubai choosing to go for cruise travel in 2008.
For this year, visitors booked for the last quarter alone total 26,790, a slight increase of 6,360 over that of last year’s 20,430.
Since January to March this year alone, DTCM reported 90,442 cruise tourists arriving in Dubai, mostly from the US, Britain and Europe aboard 51 ships.
In March alone, three ships, Queen Victoria, Seven Sea Voyager and Rotterdam, which docked at the cruise terminal at the Port Rashid Complex, brought in 5,511 cruise tourists.
DTCM said that from the eight calls by cruise liners in 1996, the Dubai Cruise Terminal facility hosted 82 ships with 182,030 passengers in 2008.
This year, the total number of cruise tourists, both inbound and outbound, has grown to 260,817 based on the ship bookings until December. By 2010, Dubai is expected to host 99 ships with 383,432 passengers.
Even while cruise tourists are increasing but do not check in hotels, the hotel industry is also going strong. From 1999 to 2008, the hotel industry reported a growing guest lists, from 3,026,734 in 1999 to 5,467,808 in 2008.
Top hotel guests are Europeans reaching 1,746,930 with British leading them at 1,392,741 followed by Arabs, mostly from the GCC, 1,393,442 with Saudi Arabians leading at 265,320. The third highest number of tourists arriving in Dubai are the Asians, 1,300,856 with South Asians at the helm, 926,643.