Dubai expects 600,000 cruise tourists this season
Dubai Cruise Tourism (DCT) has revealed it anticipates more than 600,000 cruise tourists visiting the destination during the 2016-2017 cruise season.
The entity is targeting an 18 percent increase in cruise ship calls to a record 157 during the period.
Dubai’s cruise season has already kicked in with two new lines set to make maiden calls in Dubai soon.
Norwegian Cruise Line and the UK’s Thomson Cruises will make first-time visits, also marking their regional debut.
Thomson Cruises will be the first ever UK-based cruise line to home port in Dubai, making 12 calls and bringing more than 25,000 cruise tourists to the emirate.
Dubai's 2015-2016 cruise season saw passenger numbers grow by 19 percent and ship calls increase by 24 percent compared to the previous year.
The industry has witnessed significant growth since 2014 following the implementation of the multiple entry UAE visa, which opened up potential emerging source markets such as India, China, South America and Russia.
“Through our cruise tourism strategy, we aim to bring in one million tourists to Dubai by 2020 and we are heading in the right direction,” said Jamal Humaid Al Falasi, director of Dubai Cruise Tourism.
He said the entity was working in collaboration with Emirates, DP World, Dubai Customs, Dubai Immigration and other relevant stakeholders in order to provide comprehensive support and increase flexibility for visiting cruise lines and tourists.
As of this season, Dubai plays host to more than 23 cruise operators including six that will use the emirate as a base.
Next year Celestyal Cruise Lines from Greece will home port in Dubai, offering a three-night, four-day itinerary for the first time.
Falasi said this was “yet another instance of the collective approach of tourism, airlines and the port authority leading to a compelling tourist proposition”, which attracted new cruise players to the emirate.