Cruise Arabia promotes the region for winter cruising at Seatrade Cruise Global 2016 in Florida, USA
Cruise Arabia promotes the region for winter cruising at Seatrade Cruise Global 2016 in Florida, USA
· Key industry partners including airlines, seaports, ship agencies and DMCs join the Cruise Arabia alliance made up of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, Oman, Qatar and Bahrain
· Bahrain joins the alliance for the first time, making Cruise Arabia the biggest regional exhibitor at the event
· Dubai Tourism awarded ‘Best Turnaround Destination’ by Cruise Insight magazine
Dubai, UAE: 28 March 2016: Cruise Arabia’s presence at this year’s Seatrade Cruise Global 2016, the leading annual global business-to-business event for the cruise industry that took place in Fort Lauderdale, USA, highlights the continued appeal of the Arabian Gulf for cruise tourists from across the world. The event, which ran from 14-17 March, saw Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) participate for the third consecutive year as part of the Cruise Arabia alliance, a unified partnership that brings together six different tourism authorities with the aim of promoting the region as a preferred destination for cruise travel.
This year marked the first time that Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority (BTEA) attended the convention as a member of Cruise Arabia, which also includes Dubai Tourism, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), Oman Ministry of Tourism (Oman Tourism) and Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA). The members’ joint pavilion spanned 3,000 square feet and was joined by 22 public and private sector stakeholders from the industry. Co-participants included Emirates Airline, Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi Ports, Port Services Corporation of Oman, Qatar Ports Management Company, DP World, DNATA and Shurooq (Sharjah Investment & Development Authority), as well as destination management companies, ship agents and hospitality partners from the region.
Speaking at one of the event’s panel discussions titled ‘Seasonality and Its Impact on Deployment’, Hamad M Bin Mejren, Senior Vice President of Dubai Tourism, said: “There has been significant growth in the popularity of cruise tourism, with the number of cruise tourists globally estimated to reach 24 million by end of this year, as predicted by the Cruise Lines International Association. The rising demand for varied winter itineraries in particular opens up more opportunities for the GCC and the Cruise Arabia alliance to showcase the best of what the region has to offer. With the recent addition of Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority to the alliance, we are further strengthening our combined offering to ensure the Arabian Gulf is among the world’s top winter sun cruise destinations.”
Speaking of Dubai’s potential to grow as a cruise destination in its own right, Bin Mejren continued: “Following the growth marked by the 455,600 cruise tourists that arrived in Dubai last season, we are confident that we will reach our target of 500,000 cruise tourists by the end of the current 2015-16 season. Celebrity Cruises is expected to make multiple overnight calls in Dubai, and we eagerly anticipate the arrival of Thomson Cruises to Dubai later this year, which will not only add to our existing roster of home-porting cruise lines, but also mark the first ever UK-based cruise line to home port in Dubai. We look forward to meeting a host of key industry professionals at Seatrade Cruise Global and to generating more opportunities for partnerships in the future.”
H.E. Khalid Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of SCTDA, said: “Seatrade Cruise Global is the largest international event for the cruise tourism industry. Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority is participating as part of the Cruise Arabia Alliance, demonstrating the importance the alliance is placing on its joint cruise vision. For Sharjah, attendance is an important part of our cruise tourism strategy, aiming to increase calls into the ports of Sharjah to meet our 2021 vision of 10 million visitors to the emirate. Sharjah has committed to developing a new cruise terminal, which will add a further dimension to its offering in the Port of Khorfakkan and will streamline passenger handling as well as enhance passengers’ experience. Over the last few years Sharjah has witnessed an increased number of cruise calls, totalling around 40 in 2015. Our participation in Seatrade Cruise Global allows us to strengthen our relationship with the industry and provides us with an opportunity to reach further into the global cruise market, to which we can offer a unique cultural and as yet fairly undiscovered destination.”
Strengthening Abu Dhabi’s position within the Cruise Arabia initiative and highlighting Abu Dhabi’s new cruise terminal facility are priorities for the emirate, according to Saeed Al Dhaheri, Cruise Sector & City Tour Development Manager at TCA Abu Dhabi. He commented: “Our presence at Seatrade Global in Miami is the latest implementation of our long-term international destination marketing partnership initiatives aimed at forging lasting relationships with cruise lines and tour companies. We seek to encourage them to consider basing a ship in Abu Dhabi’s magnificent permanent cruise terminal and develop pre- and post-package stays with Etihad Airways, our national airline partner, for their Abu Dhabi-originating cruise guests. With Celebrity Cruises, MSC and AIDA already committing to Abu Dhabi for their 2016-17 originating cruises, we’ll be sharing with the industry’s leading executives how these lines have been attracted by the diversity of Abu Dhabi's cultural and family-friendly attractions and our unique beach stopover on Sir Bani Yas Island, and emphasise how we can act as a catalyst to help build their business to Abu Dhabi.”
Hesham Al Saken, Director of Marketing and Tourism Promotion, BTEA, said: “Participating at Seatrade Global in Florida comes as part of Bahrain’s strategy towards further developing and bolstering cruise ship tourism in the country. Moreover, recently joining Cruise Arabia has made it vital for us to be present at such international events and assist in marketing the region as one cruise ship destination for the seatrade industry. All member countries are unique, making the region attractive for sea trade establishments. We as GCC countries complement each other and make the region a viable and interesting destination. Royal Caribbean (AZAMARA) Cruises, MSC Cruises and Thomson Cruises have already confirmed their arrival in Bahrain next season, along with TUI and AIDA continuing to dock at Khalifa Port.”
Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer, QTA, said: “This year’s Seatrade Global proved to be an excellent follow-up to the highly successful Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum that Qatar hosted last December. The cruise industry in Qatar is rapidly developing, with huge opportunity for growth in the coming years, which is expected to reach 250,000 passengers by the 2018-19 season. Working jointly with the Cruise Arabia Alliance since last year, Qatar has bolstered its cruise industry by developing plans for major upgrades of Doha Port’s infrastructure, nurturing closer ties with international cruise lines. QTA has identified the cruise industry as a major focus in the country’s tourism sector development strategy in coming years, and the outlook for Qatar to become a major port of call on cruise itineraries looks exceptionally bright. The global edition of the Forum has provided Qatar with the platform once again to connect with world’s leading cruise lines, which are increasingly seeing the GCC as a top winter destination. With global demand for cruising exceeding that of land-based tourism, we see incredible potential for the industry and its contribution to Qatar’s overall leisure tourism offering.”
Sultan Saif Al-Hinai, Oman Ministry of Tourism, said, “We are excited to be a part of Cruise Arabia’s series of road shows, which aim to position the Arabian Gulf as a premier cruise destination. Oman, in particular, has become a highly-preferred tourist attraction for tourists and visitors coming to the Middle East region and is widely attributed to the country’s year-long tourism season. In fact, Oman has also started to position itself as a choice destination for cruises. Cruise ships have seen a steady increase to the Sultanate’s ports, where 135 cruise ships have anchored at Sultan Qaboos Port – Muscat in the 2015-16 season, compared to 109 cruise ships in the 2014-15 season. Cruise ships coming into the Sultanate are also expected to increase by 18-21 per cent in the coming tourism season, stopping at the ports of Salalah, Sultan Qaboos Port and the latest trending port, Khasab. Oman is a country with a rich culture and heritage accompanied by attractions such as pristine beaches, traditional souks, castles and fortresses, natural wilderness and adventure experiences that make it a must-see cruise destination of choice and an ideal pre- and post-touring location.”
Formerly referred to as Cruise Shipping Miami, Seatrade Cruise Global is the leading international exhibition and conference dedicated to the cruise industry that connects cruise industry experts, decision makers from cruise lines, buyers, service providers, destinations and suppliers for a week of networking, sourcing, innovation and education. This year’s edition is set to draw more than 11,000 registered attendees, over 800 exhibiting companies from 93 countries and more than 300 international journalists.
Cruise Arabia, formed in 2013, is a synergy of six regional tourism authorities spearheaded by Dubai Tourism with the goal of promoting the region as a whole to the cruise industry. The alliance aims to transform the Gulf region into a leading cruise destination, in partnership with leaders in the cruise industry.
About Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism)
With the ultimate vision of positioning Dubai as the world’s leading tourism destination and commercial hub, Dubai Tourism’s mission is to increase the awareness of Dubai among global audiences and to attract tourists and inward investment into the emirate.
Dubai Tourism is the principal authority for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of Dubai’s tourism sector. It markets and promotes the Emirate’s commerce sector, and is responsible for the licensing and classification of all tourism services, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. Brands and departments within the Dubai Tourism portfolio include Dubai Convention and Events Bureau, Dubai Calendar, and Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (formerly known as Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment).
About Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi)
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction which enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The authority manages the emirate’s tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programmes relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The authority supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate’s heritage. A key authority role is to create synergy in the destination’s development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base.
About Oman Tourism
The Oman Cruise sector marketing strategy aims to promote our destination internationally as a quality Cruise destination. The Ministry's portfolio of marketing activities adds to a wide range of cruise development programs that showcase Oman as a preferred cruise location with different cruise liners and cruise sector tourists. With 3,160 Kms of unspoiled coastline, our cruise marketing focus is to position Oman as a quality destination for an authentic Arabian visitor experience. Culture, heritage, nature and adventure with 3 major cruise hubs: Muscat, Salalah and Khasab.
About Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA)
As the Qatari Government’s tourism planning and promotion arm, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) works in partnership with stakeholders to plan, regulate and promote the development of a sustainable and mature tourism sector that contributes to Qatar’s future and positions the country as a leading tourism destination.
Chaired by H.E. Mr. Issa Bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi, QTA works on showcasing all that Qatar has to offer, reinforcing the country’s position on the world tourism map as a premium destination for authentic experiences, business facilitation, and family-focused recreation.
About Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA)
Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) was established in 1996 by Emiri Decree No. 5, with the objective of promoting commercial and tourism activities in the Emirate of Sharjah. SCTDA endeavours to develop these sectors through various events, activities and issuances, and promotes the emirate at all local, regional and international levels. Consequently, it carries out all the work and activities necessary to achieve their goals by way of planning and drawing up strategic plans to further development and to promote the tourism industry in all its forms. SCTDA also undertakes all related social and economic studies. It compiles the policies for participating in the local, regional and international exhibitions. SCTDA also aims at marketing and promoting Sharjah to attract foreign investment. SCTDA uses all available means and different media to raise public awareness locally, regionally and internationally of the unique features Sharjah offers as a special tourist destination. On the international front, it seeks to participate in international and regional events and activities to promote the emirate and place it on top of the international map. Today, Sharjah has become a preferred destination for tourists from around the world.
About Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority
The Kingdom of Bahrain is strategically located as a gateway to the Middle East and has the added attraction of a safe, pleasant environment and a warm climate, as well as a rich history, culture and traditions. With its growing economy, its advanced infrastructure, abundance of leisure facilities, easy connectivity to countries around the world and a cosmopolitan work-force, Bahrain continues to attract the attention of events organizers from around the world. Apart from conferences, Bahrain is increasingly seen as a preferred destination for seminars, road shows, concerts, product promotions and other trade fair. The availability of flexible venues, state-of-the-art telecommunication facilities and diverse entertainment options further enables Bahrain to be a suitable choice for hosting a wide variety of MICE events.
The Ministry of Industry & Commerce – Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority (MOIC – BTEA) is the Kingdom's main government organization responsible for the marketing, promotion, product development and licensing of Bahrain and oversees the quality of services provided, including research & statistics. The mission of BTEA is to promote the tourist alongside with exhibition industry, helping it become even more dynamic and sustainable. The MOIC – BTEA responds to customers' requirements and expectations, and is consistent with the doctrine of Bahrain; working alongside its business needs in order to contribute effectively to the country's social and economic development.