Dubai's new cruise terminal - one of the Middle East's biggest cruise facilities has been officially opened during an inauguration ceremony hosted by Dubai's crown prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Developed by Dubai's tourism authority at the Port Rashid complex, the new facility, which can accommodate four cruise ships simultaneously, is expected to give a huge boost to the emirate's tourism sector.
Khalid A bin Sulayem, director general of the tourism department, said: "The opening of state-of-the-art facility is a major milestone in our tourism journey ... The new terminal will meet the increase demand that has been recorded in cruise tourists to Dubai."
In 2009, Dubai welcomed 87 cruise ships carrying 261,000 cruise tourists. This year, the emirate expects to host 120 ships with over 325,000 passengers. The tourism department has predicted that by 2015, the emirate will facilitate cruises by 195 ships carrying as many as 575,000 passengers.
Last week, HotelsCombined.com, a leading hotel search engine, said that Dubai will be among the top five international destinations for US tourists next year, Emirates Business 24/7 reported.