Dubai Cruise Tourism, part of Dubai Tourism, is in China this week to promote the emirate’s strengths as a cruise tourism destination. Beginning in Beijing today (1 December, 2014) before going on to Shanghai and Guangzhou later this week (3 & 5 December, 2014), the Dubai tourism team will address an invited audience of top travel trade professionals and media, alongside representatives from cruise industry partners MSC, Costa Crociere and Royal Caribbean International ( RCI ). China’s tourism industry professionals will also have the chance to learn more about the newly launched UAE multi-entry cruise tourism visa.
Dubai Tourism, with four overseas offices in China, has worked closely with China’s travel trade to attract tourists to Dubai, but this is the first time that the Dubai Cruise Tourism team has undertaken a dedicated roadshow to promote Dubai’s strength as the Middle East’s leading cruise destination. The number of Chinese cruise passengers who travel overseas has increased from 160,000 to 660,000 in the last six years, representing a significant growth in demand for cruise travel, and Dubai aims to be part of this growth.
Hamad bin Mejrin, Executive Director, Dubai Tourism says: “Cruise tourism in China is still a relatively new industry, but it is one with huge developing potential and opportunity. We already know that Dubai is a city which Chinese travelers have fallen in love with, and we want to ensure they are also made aware of the unique attractions of cruise tourism – from onboard entertainment, to special deals for families, to incredible itineraries which include amazing destinations across the Arabian Gulf and far beyond.
“We’re delighted to be here in China to meet with travel trade professionals alongside our cruise industry partners – MSC, Costa and RCI . As well as conducting workshops and sharing updates on the latest attractions for cruising in the Arabian Gulf and the region, we are looking forward understanding from the travel trade how we can better cater to our Chinese guests in the city of Dubai, and on board ship. 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 Chinese 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 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 effective for Chinese 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. Chinese 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.