HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has rubber stamped the Dubai Cruise Terminal aimed at being the main hub for cruise tourism in Dubai.
He also attended the signing ceremony of a strategic partnership agreement between Meraas Holding and Carnival Corp that aims to transform Dubai into a major regional maritime tourism hub.
Under the agreement, signed by HE Abdulla Al Habbai, Group Chairman of Meraas, and Arnold Donald, Carnival Corp CEO, the companies will collaborate across several strategic areas, including port development, terminal management and new cruise development opportunities at Dubai and across the broader region. Dubai is set to become central to Carnival Corp’s operations in the region.
The agreement mandates Carnival Corp to assist Meraas in ensuring the cruise terminal meets the highest international standards, while the relevant authorities will be responsible for security, immigration and customs.
This agreement also highlights Meraas’ support for Dubai Tourism Vision 2020, which aims to attract 20 mill visitors a year to the emirate, and strengthens the company’s contribution to Dubai Plan 2021, the strategic roadmap to establish Dubai among the world’s best cities.
Operations at the cruise terminal are scheduled to commence in October, 2020. Following discussions with HE Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and CEO of DP World, it was agreed on 26th 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 to the terminal from its opening date.
HE Abdulla Al Habbai said: “The development of the ‘Dubai Cruise Terminal’ reflects Meraas’ commitment to implementing the vision and strategic plans of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to enhance Dubai’s global standing as a world-class business and leisure tourism destination.
“Dubai Harbour is a new and unique addition to the city’s infrastructure and our alignment with DP World to make ‘Dubai Cruise Terminal’ the main cruise terminal in the emirate will drive the transformation of Dubai into a fully integrated maritime tourism hub.
“In line with the agreement with Carnival Corporation, the cruise hub at Dubai Harbour will reinforce Dubai’s status as an ideal holiday destination, a starting point for cruises to exclusive destinations and a gateway to exploring the world. Our partnership will enhance the city’s tourism offering with new options for families, such as sharia-compliant tours,” he said.
At a local level, the maritime tourism sector is expected to contribute more than AED1.5 bill to Dubai’s economy by 2030.
The cruise terminal at Dubai Harbour will become Carnival Corp’s primary hub for its homeporting and transit operations in the region. The partnership will also include both parties working together to identify and grow the cruise tourism business in the Arabian Gulf region.
Speaking about the agreement, Carnival Corp’s Donald, said: “We have a long history in Dubai with our world-leading cruise brands. We are excited to be part of this important venture that will drive new tourism opportunities for Dubai and the region through cruising.”
As Dubai transforms into a regional maritime tourism hub, residents of the GCC region and the wider Arab world will be able to enjoy premium cruises at competitive prices. To achieve this and attract tourists from new markets, discussions have taken place with Emirates to develop a strategy and devise tailored tour packages and offers to support the growth of this emerging sector.
The cruise terminal will be designed as a strategic maritime centre, providing easy access to and from the city.
Dubai Harbour will be home to two cruise terminal buildings, spanning a total of 30,000 sq m, joined by a single quay of about 1 km long, capable of accommodating up to three cruise ships concurrently, including Carnival Corp’s newest and most advanced cruise ships and XL class ships, as well as handling up to 13,200 passengers at a time.
In anticipation of an upsurge in cruises, Meraas is planning an additional two more terminal buildings that will increase capacity to six cruise ships berthed simultaneously.