Proper welcome in DubaiThe Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) for the Government of Dubai said it had completed an inaugural series of workshops dedicated to promote cruise tourism. The road show, which took place from September 15-27  2012, visited seven cities across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Sultanate of Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, and welcomed over 500 representatives from major tourism companies and the media.

Representing the DTCM at the workshops, which were conducted in collaboration with two key cruise lines – Italy’s Costa Crociere and US-based Royal Caribbean International – were Hamad M Bin Mejren, Executive Director of Business Tourism and Jamal Humaid Al Falasi, Director of Cruise Tourism.

Royal Caribbean recently moved a ship out of Dubai for 2013.

Commenting on the aim of the road show, the first of its kind for the DTCM, Bin Mejren said: “The aim of the road show was not solely to promote cruise tourism for Dubai; the broader objective was to introduce cruise tourism to the region and to emphasize its significance to the region’s economy. Consolidating efforts and sharing knowledge and experiences with travel agencies across the GCC also formed a core part of the workshops. We are honored, once again, to have the encouragement and support of both Costa Crociere and Royal Caribbean.”

The DTCM road show was initiated due to the substantial growth and development witnessed in the sector over the past few years – in 2010, Dubai welcomed 103 ships, which hosted 390,255 passengers. This was topped in 2011 when 108 ships hosting 396,500 passengers docked in Dubai.

Speaking about their involvement in the roadshow, Ms Lakshmi Durai, Executive Director – Middle East Royal Caribbean International, said: “The cruise tourism sector in the GCC region has witnessed near exponential growth in recent years, yet there is still enormous potential for further expansion. We are privileged to be able to work with DTCM to leverage this potential to its fullest extent and look forward to many more successful collaborations.”

Fabiana Maeran, Sales and Product Development Director Costa Crociere commented: “We are very pleased to be working with Dubai to promote cruise tourism in the GCC, a region with a massive potential. The crystal-clear waters, sunlight-soaked beaches, and luxurious hotels and resorts, serve as the perfect destination for people looking forward to discovering Dubai, and beyond.”

With the support of the Government of Dubai, the cruise lines and other stakeholders, this sector has grown substantially over the last few years. These workshops not only provided an ideal opportunity to highlight Dubai’s position as the cruise hub of the region, but also demonstrated the Department’s efforts in strengthening the emirate’s ranking as one of the leading tourist destinations in the world – its hotels and hotel apartments continue to post impressive all-round performance in hotel guest numbers, cruise passengers, revenues, guest nights and average length of stay.

Statistics indicate that Dubai hosted 9.3 million hotel guests and cruise passengers in 2011, up by 10 percent compared with the previous year's 8.49 million. Guest nights rose to 32,848,190 in 2011, an increase of 23 percent compared with the previous year. Revenues of hotels and hotel apartments increased by 20 percent to touch Dhs16 billion. Figures for 2012 look promising, with the number of visitors expected to rise 10 percent this year.

“We have been successful in boosting the number of tourists to Dubai due to various initiatives to. The substantial gains by hotels and hotel apartments reflect the vibrancy and dynamism of the tourism industry in the emirate. We hope to replicate this success in the cruise tourism sector, The efforts of the Department in promoting the cruise tourism sector in Dubai is supported through its participation in specialized exhibitions and conferences, as well as by hosting tourism delegations concerned with this sector’,’ said Bin Mejren.