Do you like cruising? If so, then add Dubai to your ports of call, and enjoy one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
According to the Cruise Line International Association, more than 13 million passengers cruised in 2008 alone, and the numbers keep rising. Seeing the dollar signs, Dubai has set sail to enter the bullish arena of the 92 billion AED ($25 billion USD) cruise industry. With a goal of 1 billion AED in cruise revenue by 2020, it is currently on course for 840 million AED by the year 2015.
At present, the cruise sector contributes only 5% of the UAE’s Gross Domestic Product (GPD), hosting 105 cruise ships from 21 cruise lines, bringing approximately 408,000 passengers to Dubai. The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) is in talks to bring more players to the region and double that contribution. Plans are underway to open a new cruise terminal by 2014.
Dubai is setting its course with the help of Royal Caribbean, a Miami-based cruise line, with the Brilliance of the Seas. As the region’s largest cruise liner, the $400 million Brilliance of the Seas supports 2,500 guests, touring such destinations as Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Fujairah, and Muscat. Dubai will serve as its home port.
Costa Cruises, Royal Caribbean’s Italian competitor, also plans to expand its presence in the Gulf Region, with its new ship the Costa Deliziosa.
Along with the focus on the cruise industry, increased attention will be placed on attracting tourists from China, India, and Russia, an ever-growing market for this tourist haven. But one barrier will have to be addressed. At present, Dubai does not offer a cruise visa for passengers wishing to disembark.
For those citizens of the 33 countries the UAE allows to enter without a visa, this is not a problem. But tourists from its emerging markets, countries such as China and Russia where the room for growth is substantial, they must purchase 3 separate visas, costing $240 per visitor. Such requirements are not practical and can easily discourage those tourists from considering cruising to Dubai as an option, if not resolved. But, I’m sure they will soon iron out such wrinkles.
So if you love cruising, add Dubai to ports of call. The only downside is Dubai has too much to offer for such a short stop. However, that can be easily remedied. Consider a Dubai adventure adding a week or two to your trip, and stay in one of our luxury Dubai villas or apartments in Dubai, to get the most of your visit to this magnificent city.