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Dubai set to become global cruise tourism hub

May 17, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Dubai, a major airline hub for its national carrier Emirates, has signed a strategic partnership deal with Carnival Corporation, world’s largest cruise and leisure travel operator, to develop the Dubai Cruise Terminal into a similar hub on the maritime front.

The deal entails construction of a new Dubai Cruise Terminal to accommodate six ships simultaneously. Dubai-based holding company Meraas – a huge conglomerate involved in real estate, tourism, hospitality, healthcare, technology, retail, food and beverage, leisure and entertainment – will work to grow cruise tourism and transform Dubai into a regional cruise hub.

The facility is set to open in less than 30 months – in October 2020 – and become Carnival Corporation’s primary hub for home-porting and transit operations in the region.

Meraas and Carnival Corporation signed the agreement at a ceremony with Dubai’s ruler (and Prime Minister and Vice President) His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in attendance.

Carnival will help Meraas ensure the terminal meets the highest international standards, UAE state news agency WAM reported.

The cruise hub is part of Dubai Tourism Vision 2020, which aims to attract 20 million visitors annually by that year.

All cruise ships visiting the existing Port Rashid will be redirected gradually to the new Dubai Cruise Terminal under the agreement, according to ArabianBusiness.com.

Abdulla Al Habbai, group chairman of Meraas, said the cruise hub at Dubai Harbour would reinforce Dubai’s status as “an ideal holiday destination, a starting point for cruises to exclusive destinations and a gateway to exploring the world”.

As well as seeking existing cruise business, Carnival Corporation will launch new cruises from Dubai Cruise Terminal to attract fresh business from India and China. Niche markets, such as sharia-compliant tours for Muslims, will be developed too.

Written by Peter Needham

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