ABU DHABI: DP World of Dubai and Qingdao Port Group of China agreed on development of cruise services from Yellow Sea Industrial Hub to Dubai. The two operators of two of the world’s busiest container terminals will also augment trade volumes and “stimulus business growth”.
“We are excited about the possibility of developing cruise services between Mina Rashid and Qingdao. This is an area of great potential,” said Sultan bin Sulayem, the DP World chairman.
The deal includes a feasibility study into the opening of a cruise route. DP World and Qingdao Port Group are already joint venture partners in China. Qingdao Port International listed on the Hong Kong exchange this year amid news of an investigation into a scam that involved commodities stored in the port, mainly copper, being used m
ultiple times as collateral for loans by a local trading company.
More than 381,000 passengers and 110 cruise ships are expected to call at Dubai over the next seven months, Dubai Tourism said yesterday. This year the cruise season in Dubai runs from late October to the end of June.
During the period, passenger numbers are set to rise by 19 per cent compared to a year earlier when the season ended in April, with an additional 60,000 to embark, disembark or transit at Mina Rashid.
Dubai Tourism “forecasts further sustained growth for the cruise sector, spurred by the upcoming opening of an additional 27,000 square meter terminal at Mina Rashid later this season and the implementation of the new cost-effective multiple entry UAE visa for cruise tourists”.
Dubai hopes to have 450,000 cruise tourists annually by 2016, increasing from just over 386,000 last year, helped by demand from new markets.
“Not only are we actively seeking to increase the volume of cruise travelers from the traditional source markets of North America and western Europe, but we are also looking to attract first time global cruise travelers from China and the Far East, as well as India and the subcontinent,” said Hamad bin Mejren, executive director of Dubai Tourism.
“We also believe there is a real opportunity to grow intra-regional cruise tourism with our GCC neighbors.”