Dubai Cruise Tourism, part of Dubai Tourism, has begun a four city roadshow in India as part of its overall strategy to promote the city’s strengths as a growing international hub for cruise tourism.
The Indian travel trade fraternity comprising cruise promotion professionals will also have the opportunity to learn more of the recently launched UAE multi-entry cruise tourism visa.
Dubai Tourism, with an overseas representative office in India, has been actively working with India’s travel trade to attract a larger number of Indian outbound travellers to the Emirate of Dubai. The organization recently made history when it conducted India’s largest ever mega-familiarization visit, comprising 440 Indian travel trade professionals, to Dubai during the first week of December 2014.
This week’s roadshow marks the first time that the Dubai Cruise Tourism team has undertaken a dedicated city tour in India to promote Dubai’s strength as the Middle East’s leading cruise destination. During 2013, a total of 888,835 Indian hotel guests stayed in Dubai, representing growth of 16 per cent over the corresponding period of 2012. Buoyed by the potential that India holds, Dubai aims to attract a larger share of the fast-growing outbound Indian tourism sector, and specifically the cruise tourism segment.
Commenting on the initiative Mr. Hamad bin Mejrin, Executive Director, Dubai Tourism, said: “Dubai has long and very strong links with India and its people, and from a tourism perspective, the country is one of our top three source markets for visitors to our city. With the announcement of a new multi-entry visa for cruise passengers we expect to see a further increase of our share of the Indian outbound travellers, including those within the cruise segment, as this will be an added attraction to visiting the city of Dubai.
“Cruise tourism in India is still a relatively new and evolving concept, but it has significant potential for development and growth as more people are eager to travel the world. We want to ensure that more Indian travellers are made aware of the unique attractions of cruise tourism – from on-board entertainment, to special deals for families, to incredible itineraries which include amazing destinations across the Arabian Gulf and beyond.”
Mr bin Mejrin further commented: “We’re delighted to be able to meet with the country’s leading travel trade professionals alongside our cruise industry partners – MSC, Costa and RCI. In addition to conducting workshops and sharing updates on the latest attractions for cruising in the Arabian Gulf and the wider region, we look forward to understanding from the local travel trade how we can better cater to our Indian guests in the city of Dubai, and on-board cruise ships. We are also pleased that we can share details of the newly introduced UAE multi-entry cruise tourism visa, which will make cruising in the Gulf even more accessible for Indian travellers.”
The Arabian Gulf is already one of the world’s top three cruise destinations for winter sun and Dubai is the home port of choice for cruise operators in the region – including Costa, Aida, Royal Caribbean, MSC and TUI – offering the largest cruise facility in the Middle East. The main port, Mina Rashid, is located close to the centre of Dubai and excellent transportation links mean that the attractions of the city are within immediate reach of cruise passengers.
Investment in new infrastructure – including a new state-of-the-art cruise terminal at Mina Rashid, Dubai’s major cruise port, which opened earlier this month – combined with guaranteed sunshine and warm weather, as well as must-experience attractions such as Burj Khalifa, the Palm Jumeirah, Burj Al Arab and world-leading malls packed with international designer brands, make Dubai an ideal cruise destination – and the ideal location for an extended stay at the start or end of a cruise.
It recently became easier and more efficient for Indian cruise tourists to visit Dubai and other locations in the United Arab Emirates by sea, with the introduction of a new Multiple Entry UAE visa for cruise tourists. Indian tourists entering the country to take a cruise who require entry into multiple UAE ports – for example Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Khorfakkan – can now apply for the new visa through their cruise line, either at the time or after booking. The visa is valid for 60 days from the date of issue to the first entry into UAE. After the first entry, the visa remains valid for 30 days.
Dubai’s cruise season, which runs from October through to June, will see a total of 110 cruise ship calls carrying more than 381,000 passengers arriving in the city. Passenger numbers are set to rise by 19 per cent on the 2013/2014 season, meaning an additional 60,000 sea-travellers will embark, disembark or transit at Mina Rashid, Dubai.
Dubai Tourism forecasts further sustained growth for the cruise sector, spurred by the upcoming opening of an additional new 27,000m2 terminal at the city’s main port later this season, the introduction of the new cruise tourism visa and the work of the Cruise Arabia partnership. Cruise Arabia is a collaborative initiative formed by Oman’s Ministry of Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority and Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing to promote the region as a cruise destination.
This season, the number of vessels using Dubai Cruise Terminal as their home port increases to six and these vessels are expected to make a total of 83 trips in comparison to 63 trips in the 2013/2014 season.
Frequent cruises from Dubai start with a minimum of four nights travel and include seven, 12 and 14 night itineraries covering the Arabian Gulf, India and Sri Lanka. Other ships calling at Dubai come from and leave for the Mediterranean and Northern Europe, North Africa, India and Sri Lanka, the Far East, Australia and North America, as well as destinations closer to home in the Arabian Gulf.