More than 20 global cruise line operator are set to bring in 300,000 tourists to Dubai during the 2013-14 season as the emirate aims to build up its reputation as a cruise tourism hub.

According to Dubai Cruise Tourism (DCT), a planned expansion, which will endow Dubai Cruise Terminals with an additional facility spanning over 27,000 sq m is currently underway.

It will allow Dubai to be able to comfortably handle complete passenger turnaround of five cruise ships simultaneously.

Dubai is currently the home port for five of the world’s leading cruise lines – Costa, Aida, Royal Caribbean, TUI and MSC.

Three of these lines – Costa and MSC Cruises from Italy and Aida cruises from Germany – will be operating Gulf Cruise itineraries out of Dubai this season, representing a total deployment of four ships.

TUI Cruises from Germany will resume their operations from the 2014/15 season and the Emirate is looking forward to welcoming USA based Royal Caribbean again in the 2015/16 season.

Helal Saeed Almarri, director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said: “The 2012-13 cruise season reached new heights. We are proud to announce 93 confirmed ship calls this season, which include 63 home porting ship calls: 27 from Costa, 17 from Aida, and 19 from MSC ships. We’re also delighted to welcome seven maiden ship calls, a reflection of Dubai’s burgeoning appeal as a cruise hub.”

He added: “The Middle East is increasingly being recognised as a key growth market, following major commitments to make substantial investments to promote the cruise tourism industry.

“This, in turn, is further establishing the promising outlook for the region’s cruise sector and helping to boost reciprocal tourism potential in key destinations across the GCC.”

Mohammed Al Mannaei, director, Mina Rashid, DP World, UAE Region, said: “Dubai is fast becoming a leading cruise destination in the Middle East, a result of the long standing relationship between DP World and DTCM, that has enabled the awarded Mina Rashid to be the best cruise port in the region for the past five years.”

In neighbouring Abu Dhabi, plans have been announced to redevelop part of Zayed Port in a bid to increase cruise ship tourism in the emirate.

The main focus for the new development will be a permanent terminal building and a traditionally themed souk and heritage area, with activities to entertain both passengers and the general public.

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Tags: dubai