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Dubai is set to establish itself as a major hub for cruise tourism with Mina Rashid terminal undergoing a major revamp. The new facility is designed to handle 7,000 cruise passengers simultaneously, with a seating capacity of more than 2,000.
When completed, Dubai Cruise Terminal will be capable of serving 14,000 passengers simultaneously. The expanded facility at Terminal (T2) will cover an area of 24,000 square meters. To help the tourists explore the sights and sounds of the emirate, there will be a provision for 150 taxi cars, 36 buses, and 52 cars for desert safari operators available at the premises. All these facilities are expected to be in place by the first quarter of this year.
Around 300,000 tourists are set to arrive in Dubai on cruise liners during the 2013-2014 season. This would mean that the actual number of arrivals will drop from the last season which attracted around 408,000 tourists. The drop is attributed to political unrest in countries like Egypt and Syria.
Most of the cruise ships carrying tourists to these countries also featured Dubai and Abu Dhabi in their itineraries. So when the cruise liners stopped their operations to these countries due to dwindling demand, the UAE also had to bear the brunt. The cruise season in Dubai runs from October to June.
Abu Dhabi's Mina Zayed cruise terminal, which is also being upgraded, will have 76 calls from 14 ships this season compared to the 96 calls from 13 ships last season. Despite the decrease in ship calls, Abu Dhabi is expecting a 13 per cent rise in the number of arrivals with the number of tourists expected to be around 193,000.
There are also plans to develop the Delma Port located in the Western Region as a stopover point for cruise liners.
• Mina Zayed in Abu Dhabi witnessed 13% increase in arrivals
• Mina Rashid upgraded to handle over 7,000 cruise passengers
• Dubai cruise arrivals dropped due to neighboring political unrest
Source: S. Dhar, Special to Properties, gulfnews.com
The writer is a freelancer