Abu Dhabi looks to develop sustainable cruise tourism

The cruise tourism industry could deliver a substantial economic impact annually for Abu Dhabi, according to a dedicated market study commissioned by Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA).

The study says Abu Dhabi stands to benefit from the creation of full-time jobs, hotel room nights from pre ad post-cruise stays, increased business for airlines serving the destination and more land tours, which will spread consumer spending to the emirate’s historic city of Al Ain and its Al Gharbia western region.

The study says maximum potential will be realised through the development of a dedicated cruise terminal and Abu Dhabi’s evolution into a fully-fledged home port with the potential to deliver at least 50,000 new visitors to the emirate annually.

“There are substantial gains to be accrued from the evolution of Abu Dhabi from its existing ‘port of call’ to ‘home port’ status. These include incremental increases in hotel guest stays, in-destination spending by both guests and crew, the opportunity to deliver a richer destination experience to cruise liner guests who fall into our high-end visitor target and to further engage with them with a view to prompting return visits,” said His Highness Sheikh Sultan Bin Tahnoon Al Nahyan, Chairman, ADTA.

The study’s findings were released as Sheikh Sultan and ADTA Director General, His Excellency Mubarak Al Muhairi held talks with cruise industry heavyweights Pier Foschi, the CEO of Costa Crociere, Europe’s leading cruise operator and the company’s President Giovanni Onorato. The two cruise industry leaders were in the UAE capital for the maiden sailing into Mina Zayed of their flagship Costa Delicioza liner – one of the most advanced vessels afloat.

The two delegations met to discuss Abu Dhabi’s future cruise industry potential, and the study’s findings.

“ADTA is now looking to actively engage key stakeholders including the Department of Transport, Abu Dhabi Terminals and Abu Dhabi Airports Company in the development of a sustainable cruise tourism development blueprint,” said Sheikh Sultan. “There has been heightened interest among major cruise lines with respect to Abu Dhabi’s cruise development as evidenced by an all-time high of about 150 ships calling at Mina Zayed this current cruise season.”

Sheikh Sultan yesterday toured the Costa Deliziosa, which will be calling at Mina Zayed nine times this season as part of Costa Cruises’ new Jewels of the Emirates itinerary.

“This is a truly luxurious vessel – in many ways a work of art – and its guests are very much the correct target audience for Abu Dhabi,” said Sheikh Sultan. “We look forward to welcoming Costa Deliziosa and its guests throughout the remainder of this season and building a long and mutually beneficial business relationship.”

Valere Tjolle

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