Dubai : The city's new cruise terminal in Port Rashid is set to open in the coming month, meaning the project is well on schedule.
Talking to Gulf News in an interview on January 18, Hamad Bin Mejren, executive director of business tourism at the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said the new terminal will give "a big boost to the cruise tourism segment" and will "create awareness for Dubai as one of the best cruise destinations in the region".
Though a definite launch date has still not been set, the opening could possibly coincide with the naming of the new cruise ship Costa Deliziosa by Costa Cruises on February 23.
The ship will be sailing around the Gulf from March and is expected to increase the number of cruise tourists visiting Dubai by 40 per cent, according to Costa Cruises. "We hope that the opening of the terminal can take place on that occasion, but I cannot confirm," Bin Mejren said.
The cruise terminal is already used by three major cruise companies, Costa Cruises, Aida Cruises and Royal Caribbean.
"In the near future, we expect other important cruise operators using the new terminal," Bin Mejren said. This year, the number of cruise tourists is expected to rise to 325,000 from 250,000 in 2009.
"By 2015, we look forward to having 575,000 cruise tourists visiting Dubai," Bin Mejren said. This year, Dubai will be hosting 120 ships. By 2015, the number of ship calls is expected to rise to 195 annually.
The new terminal spans 3,450 square metres and is designed to handle four ships simultaneously and cater to the increased number of cruise ship calls.
Technically, it is run by DP World, says Lawrie Pattison, head of marketing at DP World. "We are managing the port from a marina perspective. All the cargo operations have already been moved from Port Rashid to Jebel Ali," Pattison told Gulf News.
The facade of the new terminal building is based on contemporary Arabic design. Traditional domes, arches and carvings are the major architectural elements that constitute the exterior facades.
The terminal provides a tourist support infrastructure which includes facilities like money exchange, ATMs, a post office, a duty free shop, souvenir shops, and a business centre with Wi-Fi and cable internet access as well as a VIP section.
The DTCM has set up information counters in the cruise terminal which are manned round the clock. Passengers are provided with free maps and other information about Dubai.
In addition, the terminal houses offices for representatives of government bodies such as immigration, customs and police.