AD Ports Group’s (ADP) has opened its new jetty at Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach.
The new jetty — equipped with eight mooring dolphins, firefighting equipment, and solar lighting — will be able to accommodate two cruise vessels simultaneously, enabling more than 5,000 passengers to embark and disembark to and from the beach at a faster rate.
The inauguration took place with ‘MSC Virtuosa’ berthed at Sir Bani Yas Island, as part of the ship’s regular seven-night cruises in the Arabian Gulf.
Developed by ADP, Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach is claimed to be the first and only dedicated cruise beach of its type in the region. Previously, cruise ships had to anchor about 1 km offshore from the island and visitors were ferried to and from the beach via tenders.
It will significantly increase the capacity of the number of visitors to the island, reduce the time it takes to move to and from a vessel, as well as enhance the overall experience for cruise passengers, ADP said.
Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Aby Dhabi ruler’s representative in the Al Dhafra Region emphasised that with the support of infrastructure and tourism projects, this area continues to work towards enhancing its position in the tourism sector, while also elevating its contribution to the growth of tourism and leisure sectors within the region.
He said: “Inspired by the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision and Plan Al Dhafra 2030, the opening of this new jetty is a milestone in Al Dhafra’s ambitious development plans. Economic diversification is fundamental to the long-term roadmap for the Emirate’s progress.
“We applaud AD Ports Group’s efforts in fostering this growth through world-class leisure and tourism infrastructure that will not only strengthen tourism across the GCC region but will also further reinforce Abu Dhabi’s position as a premier global tourism destination,” he said.
H.E. Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, ADP Chairman, added: “It is our privilege to welcome Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the opening of the new jetty at Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach. We are grateful for his valuable support and contribution to the significant ongoing development of Al Dhafra region.
“The tourism sector, and cruise tourism in particular, plays a key role in driving economic diversification and sustainable development, with a significant impact on local, regional and national economies. With the creation of these enhanced facilities, we will be able to welcome more visitors to Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach than ever before and offer a superior disembarkation experience for passengers, raising the profile of Abu Dhabi and the Al Dhafra region in particular for global travellers. Today marks an important step forward in our strategy to establish Abu Dhabi as one of the leading hubs in the world for cruise tourism.”
Saood Abdulaziz Al Hosani, Under-secretary of the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi), said: “The addition of the new jetty to the Arabian Gulf’s first dedicated cruise beach stopover at Sir Bani Yas Island reinforces and underlines Abu Dhabi’s commitment to expand its diverse tourism offering with enhanced infrastructure for the cruise sector.
“With easier access to this exclusive desert-island beach, the cruise experience is greatly improved for more visitors to enjoy, helping showcase Abu Dhabi as one of the world’s most exciting and fastest developing cruise destinations that complement a rich array of tourist options available across the emirate.”
Capt Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, ADP Managing Director and Group CEO, said: “AD Ports Group continues to support the development of significant maritime, logistics and tourism projects within the UAE and across the region, because we recognise the wider benefits such strategic investments deliver for the economy and the community. By developing Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach as a sustainable cruise destination, we are supporting our leadership’s vision.
In 2019, prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the world cruise industry was valued at more than $150 bill in direct and indirect revenues. With a strong recovery, we believe that it will achieve growth beyond that record and are working hard to ensure that Abu Dhabi builds its leadership position in this sector.”
Noura Rashid Al Dhaheri, ADP’s Managing Director – Cruise Business, commented: “The launch of the enhanced jetty at Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach heralds an exciting new phase in the ongoing success story of Abu Dhabi’s cruise business, as we are now able to cater to the arrival of two cruise ships visiting one of the emirate’s most popular attractions at the same time.
“Exemplifying our efforts to support the nation’s thriving economy in line with the UAE’s ‘Year of the 50th’ anniversary celebrations, we remain committed to developing ultra-modern facilities supporting cruise liners in the Middle East, all the while working diligently to enhance the overall visitor experience. We are thankful for the opportunity to elevate Abu Dhabi’s cruise offerings to new heights to drive the future growth of one of the UAE’s fastest-growing industries.”
Several of the world’s top cruise operators have resumed their cruise activities in Abu Dhabi, while visitors and guests from all over the world have begun to arrive to the UAE’s capital. The TUI-operated ‘Mein Schiff 6’, became the first cruise vessel to arrive at the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal in Zayed Port following the commencement of the current cruise season.
Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman of the Cruise Division, MSC Group, said: “We welcome the unveiling of a new jetty at Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach, a key development that will aid operational efficiency at an increasingly popular stop on our Gulf itinerary.
“The commitment by AD Ports Group to spearhead the development of industry-leading facilities supporting cruise activities will undoubtedly contribute to the advancement of our highly popular and fast-growing industry as we at MSC Cruises look to strengthen our own position as the sector’s market leader in the Gulf by deploying the most modern ships to what is a key region for us in our ambitious global growth programme,” he said.
Located in Abu Dhabi’s Al Dhafra Region, Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach is the gateway to one of the UAE’s largest natural reserves open to the public. ADP has been supporting the ongoing development of the Al Dhafra region. Its ports play a vital role in serving the local fishing industry, providing jobs for the local communities and facilitating the current redevelopment on the surrounding islands.