Dubai will start work on a second cruise terminal within a year to handle the expected doubling of cruise tourists in 2010, a senior official said. Cruise operators take advantage of the Gulf's mild temperatures and sunshine from December to March to bring in passengers who want to escape the frigid winters in Europe and the US.
Dubai is expecting 165,000 cruise tourists during the 2007-08 season. The number is expected to exceed 200,000 in the 2008-09 season and 350,000 in the next winter period, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said. Dubai's nascent cruise industry received a major boost when Costa Cruises, a major European operator, made the city its regional cruise hub last year. It has increased capacity this year and deployed two large ships offering a total of six weekly packages to destinations in the region.
The combined passenger and crew capacity of the two ships, Costa Romantica and Costa Europa, is 4,756. Last year, the company deployed only one vessel.The regional package covers Dubai, Muscat, Fujairah, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. Most of the passengers are Europeans, but Brazilians and North Americans have accounted for around 2,000 bookings.
Awad Seghayer Al Ketbi, executive director of Dubai Cruise Terminal, said at an event held on board Costa Romantica on Saturday night that the emirate plans to have one more cruise terminal."Dubai will have a second terminal in the near future," he said, adding that "the near future will not be longer than one year." The plan is expected to be announced either in January or February, Al Ketbi told Gulf News. He had told Gulf News as early as in June that Dubai was considering a second cruise terminal. He said yesterday that the passenger handling capacity of the new facility will be similar to the existing six-year-old cruise terminal in Port Rashid and that the second terminal will be located in the same area.
Dubai just needs one more cruise operator like Costa to be based at Dubai in order to justify having another terminal, Al Ketbi said. Costa is among the top industry operators and has 11 ships under deployment. It has five ships on order to be delivered within five years. Other cruise operators are also in discussions with Dubai to start their operations in the Gulf. (Gulf News)