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The Seatrade Middle East Cruise Convention (SMECC) will be held from October 18 to October 20, 2011, with a focus on increasing opportunities arising from the growth of cruising in the region.

Statistics from the UK recently revealed that, while UK cruise numbers rose six per cent overall last year, UK passengers visiting the Arabian Gulf/Red Sea rose by an extraordinary 76 per cent. Dubai’s Port Rashid is expecting passenger numbers to total 425,000 for the 2011 season, a 38 per cent increase from last year and the Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing is expecting an increase of 50,000 passengers to the region year-on-year through to 2015.

The conference will explore such topics as the cause of this recent success, the future potential of the region, itinerary, destination and shore excursion development, and how to market the region to the global cruise industry.

Why do you think the Middle East has become so popular as a cruise destination?