Eleven international cruise line executives are set to meet with government representatives and industry stakeholders from the ports, tourism, immigration and security departments around the GCC at next month’s Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum in Qatar.
Global cruise lines including MSC Cruises, Thomson Cruises, TUI Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd and Carnival UK have confirmed their commitment to tackle key issues impacting the future of the Arabian Gulf’s cruise industry.
The two-day forum – hosted by Qatar Tourism Authority – will be held at the Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl, Doha, Qatar from 7-8 December and follows on from previous chapters which have taken place in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai and most recently, Muscat, Oman.
“We are looking forward to welcoming members of the cruise industry to the same table as government representatives in immigration, tourism and port management,” said Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer. “The cruise industry cannot succeed without cooperation between all sides and this is a unique opportunity to find the common ground needed to overcome challenges and lay the ground work for a thriving cruise sector.”
The Forum comes as QTA plans to welcome five more ships to Qatar this cruise season, in addition to the three that have already visited this year. Meanwhile on November 17, Seabourn will make its maiden voyage to Qatar, docking in the Old Doha Port. The following day Noble Caledonia’s Island Sky will arrive as the first ship to stop in Qatar as part of the Cruise Arabia Alliance.
According to Vanessa Stephens, MD, Seatrade Middle East, “The commitment of so many cruise lines is testament to the significance they place in ensuring regional destinations are prepared and ready for cruise lines to visit and plan itineraries to. The focus of the Forum is the future of cruising in the Arabian Gulf and this will be the anchor theme from which all other discussions will develop.”
The Forum will feature a Summit attended by cruise line executives, regional ministers, tourism leaders, port and immigration officials and a day-long conference for tourism boards, port authorities, destination management companies, tour operators, travel agents, hoteliers, airlines and ship agents.
Under the spotlight will be sessions that include: regional itinerary development; operating in the region; source markets and two interactive sessions about shore excursions and terminal design and operation.
The Forum will also include a workshop session where each of the hosted cruise line executives will meet officials from participating destinations.
“This is an unrivalled opportunity for destinations in the region to get in front of the cruise line itinerary decision-makers to present their individual cases for port-of-call inclusion,” added Stephens.
The cruise lines attending the Forum include: Azamara Club Cruises; Carnival UK; Cruise & Maritime Voyages; Crystal Cruises; Cunard, Holland America Line, MSC Cruises; P&O Cruises, Princess Cruises; Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd; Seabourn Cruise Line, The World; Thomson Cruises and TUI Cruises GmbH.