The partnership was launched with a Cruise Gulf Road Show which took place from November 25 to December 3, 2013, touring several cities in the GCC, with the objectives of increasing the number of residents in the region who consider cruise as a holiday option; increasing the awareness of the Gulf as a cruise tourism destination; and to train and motivate regional travel trade agents to sell cruises in the Gulf sailing out of Dubai.
The delegation comprised of the representatives from the three tourism authorities and Cruise line Costa and MSC visited a number of GCC neighbors over the six day roadshow, targeting an overall audience of 400-450 leading travel agents and other key stakeholders. The roadshow arrived in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jeddah, Riyadh and Al Khobar. On each occasion, speeches and presentations by Oman Tourism, TCA Abu Dhabi and DTCM, were followed by presentations by MSC and Costa Cruises.
Dubai is the cruise hub of the region, with state-of-the art infrastructure and services, including the largest cruise facility in the Middle East - which is set to be bolstered further by a substantial expansion in the 2013-2014 season. The Emirate has been the home port for the worlds leading cruise lines such as Costa, Aida, Royal Caribbean, TUI and MSC Cruises. Costa, Aida and MSC has confirmed gulf cruise itineraries out of Dubai for 2013-2014 season. The port of Oman and Abu Dhabi are a vital part of these itineraries.
Helal Saeed Almarri, director general, DTCM, said, "The Cruise Gulf Road Show presents a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate the continued growth and success of Dubai's cruise tourism industry and to join with our partners from Oman and Abu Dhabi cruise industries to promote the Gulf as an attractive cruising destination. Following significant investment in infrastructure for cruise tourism across the region, the Middle East is increasingly recognised as a key growth market for the cruise industry and by working closely with our partners from Oman and Abu Dhabi we can contribute to this growth.
Salim Al Mamari, director general, tourism development, Oman Ministry of Tourism, said, These are exciting times for the GCC region's tourism industry, particularly across the luxury cruise segment, which has demonstrated continuous growth. In line with this, the joint venture agreement between Oman's Ministry of Tourism, the DTCM in Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority proves to be both timely and strategic as it joins hands in positioning the region as a premiere cruising destination- ultimately driving in huge economic and development opportunities for the whole GCC."
Sultan Al Dhaheri, director, tourism eco-systems, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority commented, Abu Dhabi has long-term cruise industry ambitions and is working closely with our regional destination partners to progress a GCC-wide approach to fulfill the needs of operators. To build the business we need to provide the desired physical infrastructure, supply enticing and engaging shore excursions and assist the operators by building the profile of the industry among the regional travel trade and consumers. We are putting intense effort behind reaching our goals and anticipate a gradual evolution of the regional cruise industry and uptake in cruise offerings from within the GCC and beyond.
Dario Rustico, director, sales and marketing, Central Europe, Africa, Middle East and India, Costa Cruises said, The UAE and the GCC Region is a firm fixture in our winter deployment since 2006 and our participation to the Cruise Gulf Road Show is the first of many activities we have in the pipeline, in line with our plan to invest more to develop the local source market. For the 2013/2014 season, we will deploy two ships in the region the Costa Fortuna with a capacity for 3,470 passengers and the Costa NeoRiviera which has a capacity for 1,727 passengers - offering cruises calling at Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Khasab. The two ships will make a total of 27 cruises in the region and next year we will deploy a larger ship, the Costa Serena, which has a capacity for 3,780 passengers for another 17 cruises.