Meraas, Carnival deal to transform Dubai into a major maritime tourism hub


His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Monday approved the ‘Dubai Cruise Terminal’ as the main hub for cruise tourism in Dubai and attended a signing ceremony between Meraas and Carnival Corporation that aims to transform Dubai into a major regional maritime tourism hub.

Shaikh Mohammad said the tourism sector is key to the development of the UAE’s economy, due to the value it adds through key projects and its ability to attract millions of visitors every year.

“We welcome visitors from across the world and provide them with an exceptional tourism experience. 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,” he added.

Shaikh Mohammad also said that mega projects being implemented in the UAE are reinforcing the country’s profile globally as a model for sustainable growth driven by diversification, innovation and productive partnerships with the private sector.

Under the agreement between Meraas and Carnival Corporation, which was signed by Abdullah Al Habbai, Group Chairman of Meraas, and Arnold W. Donald, Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Corporation, the companies will collaborate across several strategic areas including port development, terminal management and new cruise development opportunities at Dubai Harbour and the broader region.

Dubai is set to become central to Carnival Corporation’s operations in the region. The agreement mandates Carnival Corporation to assist Meraas in ensuring the cruise terminal meets the highest international standards of the cruise industry, while the relevant authorities will be responsible for security, immigration and customs.

Maritime tourism hub

Operations at the ‘Dubai Cruise Terminal’ are scheduled to commence in October 2020. Following discussions with Sultan Ahmad Bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of DP World, it was agreed on 26 March 2018, that ‘Dubai Cruise Terminal’ will become the main cruise terminal in Dubai and all cruise ships visiting Port Rashid will be redirected gradually from its opening date.

International partnership

Carnival Corporation will launch new cruises from “Dubai Cruise Terminal” and aims to attract new source markets from India and China.

Dubai Harbour will be home to two cruise terminal buildings, spanning a total of 30,000 square metres, joined by a single quay of about 1 kilometre, capable of accommodating up to three cruise ships concurrently, including Carnival Corporation’s newest and most advanced cruise ships and XL class ships, as well as up to 13,200 passengers at a time. In anticipation of an upsurge in cruises, Meraas has planned for the addition of two more terminal buildings that will increase capacity to six cruise ships at the same time.

According to the Cruise Lines Industry Association (CLIA), more than 40 million people worldwide will travel on cruise ships annually by 2030, marking a 40 per cent increase from 26 million passengers in 2017. At a local level, the maritime tourism sector is expected to contribute more than Dh1.5 billion to Dubai’s economy by 2030.

Carnival Corporation is the world’s largest leisure travel company and is dually listed on both the New York Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange. Operating international brands such as Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, P&O Cruises UK, P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, Seabourn and Cunard, the company has a fleet of over 100 cruise ships visiting more than 700 ports around the world. Carnival Corporation employs more than 120,000 staff and serves over 12 million passengers annually. The largest business of its kind in the GCC region, Carnival Corporation commands about 45 per cent of Dubai’s maritime tourism market.




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