ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi’s cruise tourism sector, led by Department of Culture and Tourism as part of a Cruise Arabia delegation, has completed the first of a number of international promotions and conventions ahead of the start of the 2017-2018 cruise season following its successful attendance at Seatrade Europe in Hamburg, Germany.
The participation of the Abu Dhabi delegation in the Cruise Arabia pavilion, which aims to promote cruise tourism in the Arabian Gulf region, attracted wide attention during the Seatrade Europe exhibition and conference through direct contact with cruise lines and companies, and operators of cruise tours and programmes.
The delegation was joined for the first time by the General Directorate of Residence and Foreigners Affairs to help explain to industry colleagues and delegates, the immigration and operational procedures for crew and passengers while ships are berthed at Zayed Port and Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach.
Also attending the event in Germany’s second largest city were representatives of Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi Ports and Hala Abu Dhabi, who participated at Seatrade Europe to help build awareness about the emirate’s desirability as a regional port-of-call for cruise ships.
The trade mission to Germany is one of a number of international promotions planned for the coming months with roadshows in Russia and India also on the calendar before the end of the year to help drive the sector’s growth.
On the regional tourism scene, a four-city roadshow will be staged to drive growth in GCC bookings for Arabian Gulf cruises while Department of Culture and Tourism will also attend the annual GCC travel industry roadshow which run from 8th to 12th October, calling at Jeddah, Riyadh and the eastern province of Saudi Arabia, together with a visit to Kuwait.
“Participation at leading cruise and travel industry events such as Seatrade Europe in Hamburg, London’s World Travel Market, the ITB exhibitions in Berlin and Seatrade Global in Miami, will underscore our global marketing initiatives with international cruise lines,” said Sultan Al Mutawa Al Daheri, Acting Executive Director, Department of Culture and Tourism.
With the cruise sector identified as an emerging niche, a cruise development committee, established by Abu Dhabi’s General Secretariat of the Executive Council under the chairmanship of Mohammad Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Department of Culture and Tourism, has implemented a cruise charter to steer the future course of the cruise tourism industry.
“While we lead on cruise product development and enhancement of the visitor experience and take responsibility for inter-governmental discussions on cruise policies, destination promotion and joint marketing activities with cruise companies, our growth ambitions have been accelerated by the invaluable input from our partners at Abu Dhabi Ports and Etihad Airways and other members of the committee,” added Al Daheri.
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports, said, “This year we saw the longest cruise season in the history of Abu Dhabi Cruise Business. The significant investments made to upgrade Abu Dhabi’s cruise infrastructure and tourism offering, to create a niche in the growing passenger market and to ensure maximum integration across different players is paying off. We are looking forward to breaking many more records in the near future.”
Abdul Kareem Al Masabi, Executive Vice President-Ports in Abu Dhabi Ports stated that, “In collaboration with Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, we have established market-leading infrastructures and we are providing best-in class services. The success of the last cruise season, with 47 per cent increase in passengers and 40 per cent increase in vessels, is testament to the growth of Abu Dhabi as a global hub for tourism.
For the coming cruise season, Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal is forecast to welcome 129 ship calls from 18 different cruise lines, making the emirate a firm fixture on the world cruise map and continuing to base their regional Arabian Gulf operations at the terminal.