As Abu Dhabi's new Zayed Port cruise terminal opens by the end of this year, the number of cruise ships docking in Abu Dhabi is set to increase by a fifth this season, reports the National.
Zayed Port, a premier cruise hub in the region, is expected to welcome 112 cruise ship calls in the new season spanning from mid-September this year to mid- May 2016.
The figure is 19 per cent higher than the 94 cruise ship calls in the 2014-2015 season.
The ships will bring a total of 205,000 passengers to the capital between September and May, up from 185,000 who flocked through the gates of Port Zayed last season.
This impressive growth is projected to reach more than 300,000 passengers expected on 130 scheduled ship calls by 2019-2020 season, catalysed by the new world-class cruise terminal at Zayed Port, the statement said.
Passengers come mostly from Europe
and the United Kingdom and often visit Abu Dhabi as part of regional tours which include Dubai, Bahrain
, Muscat, Khor Fakkan and Khasab.
A 620-passenger vessel MS Insignia's maiden call on September 18 marked the beginning of Abu Dhabi’s new cruise season.
“These developments describe the significant expansion of Abu Dhabi’s cruise industry that further boosts the emirate’s tourism development, a major component in its economic diversification. As an enabler of maritime industry that supports this vision, Abu Dhabi Ports derives
inspiration from these advancements to offer inventive and unique services in this sector,” said Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports.
The government-owned port operator, which also manages Khalifa Port, said that its new 2,500 passenger capacity Port Zayed terminal was now more than 60 per cent complete.