Carnival Corporation and Meraas to develop Dubai as regional cruise hub

Carnival Corporation and Meraas to develop Dubai as regional cruise hub
Executives from Meraas and Carnival Corporation look at a model of the new Dubai Harbour and Dubai Cruise Terminal (Image: Carnival Corporation)

Carnival Corporation and Dubai-based holding company Meraas have signed an agreement to develop the Dubai Cruise Terminal and transform the emirate into a maritime tourism hub for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Arabian Gulf region.

The agreement was signed on 14 May by Carnival Corporation president and CEO Arnold Donald and group chairman of Meraas His Excellency Abdulla Al Habbai. It was approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Crown Prince of Dubai HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum also attended the event.

“We welcome visitors from across the world and provide them with an exceptional tourism experiences,” said HH Sheikh Mohammed. “We want them to leave with lasting memories that they can share in their countries and communities. The continuous development of infrastructure has enabled our country to be a destination of choice in the region. Supported by the talent and creativity of our people, I am confident that we will be able to establish global leadership in several sectors. The UAE will continue to be a symbol of progress and prosperity.”

Set to open in October 2020, the new terminal will be both the main cruise tourism hub in Dubai and Carnival Corporation’s primary hub for all its homeporting and transit operations in the region. As part of the agreement, Carnival Corporation will help Meraas to ensure the terminal meets international industry standards by collaborating on areas such as port development, terminal management and new cruise development opportunities at Dubai Harbour and the broader region.

Dubai Cruise Terminal will be one of two cruise terminals that will be built in the new Dubai Harbour in the Mina Seyahi area. The two terminal buildings will span a total of 30,000 square metres and will be able to handle up to 13,200 passengers simultaneously. Both terminals will be joined by a single one-kilometre-long quay that will be able to accommodate three cruise ships concurrently, including Carnival Corporation’s newest vessels. In anticipation of a rise in cruise traffic, Meraas has factored the addition of two more terminal buildings into the future plan so it can host six cruise ships at once.

All cruise ships that visit Port Rashid will gradually be redirected to the new Dubai Cruise Terminal once it has opened.

“Dubai Harbour is a new and unique addition to the city’s infrastructure and our alignment with DP World to make Dubai Cruise Terminal the main cruise terminal in the emirate will drive the transformation of Dubai into a fully integrated maritime tourism hub,” said HE Abdulla Al Habbai. “In line with the agreement with Carnival Corporation, the cruise hub at Dubai Harbour will reinforce Dubai’s status as an ideal holiday destination, a starting point for cruises to exclusive destinations and a gateway to exploring the world. Our partnership will enhance the city’s tourism offering with new options for families, such as sharia-compliant tours.”

Carnival Corporation, which currently accounts for 45% of Dubai’s maritime tourism market, will also launch cruises from Dubai Cruise Terminal with the aim of attracting passengers from new source markets in India and China.

“We have a long history in Dubai with our world-leading cruise brands,” said Donald. “We are excited to be part of this important venture that will drive new tourism opportunities for Dubai and the region through cruising.”

The maritime tourism sector is expected to contribute more than AED1.5 billion to Dubai’s economy by 2030.

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Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson
Tuesday, May 15, 2018