Officials within the emirate of Abu Dhabi have said its cruise tourism sector saw 518,000 visitors last year, up by 46% compared to 2018.
Highlighted by sister publication Arabian Business, the UAE capital also had a 43% increase in cruise calls last year, equalling 193.
“The success we have achieved in the past year is a testament to Abu Dhabi’s position as a world-class hub for maritime tourism,” said Ali Hassan Al Shaiba, acting executive director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi.
Al Shaiba continued: “For 2020, we will build on this success to attract even more businesses and tourists to the UAE capital and to continue to provide them with exceptional service and extraordinary experiences. Our goal is to improve navigation and accessibility, provide unrivalled luxury and service, and encourage tourists to explore Abu Dhabi and its diverse offerings.”
Moving into 2020, Abu Dhabi is eyeing to reach 556,000 cruise tourists. Initiatives helping to meet this goal include the development of several key landmark projects and events, including a 2.4km canal project slated to open this year.
Arabian Business said that in the coming months, Abu Dhabi’s cruise terminals will see the return dockings of top cruise liners including MSC Bellissima, MSC Lirica, AIDAprima, Costa Diadema, MS Jewel of the Seas, MV Horizon, and Mein Schiff 5.
Abu Dhabi Ports earlier this month signed a long-term deal with global cruise line MSC Cruises to help draw in more than 1.3 million cruise tourists. The deal will see MSC Cruises’ vessels to moor at both Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal and Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach.The agreement came soon after Abu Dhabi Ports’ announcement for an AED100 million investment plan. A new cruise jetty at Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach, capable of transporting 5,000 people, is slated for a 2021 launch.