Emirate cities are in the midst of adding port infrastructure to boost the UAE’s appeal as a cruise destination.
According to Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce, Dubai alone is expecting 300,000 cruisers to sail in during the 2013/14 season. And Abu Dhabi is predicted a 13 percent increase in passenger arrivals compared to the last wave season.
Meeting growing cruising needs, Abu Dhabi is renovating its oldest cargo terminal, Mina Zayed, and Dubai is expanding its cruise terminal, Mina Rashid.
The expansion in Dubai will include an additional terminal, called T2. The new facility will cover 24,000 square meters and will include, 50,000 square meters of car parking space, and room for 36 buses and 150 taxis.
According to Mina Rashid DP World director Mohammed Al Mannaei, the terminal will allow Dubai to handle passenger turnover of five cruise ships simultaneously.
DP World hasn’t revealed how much the new terminal will cost. However, a spokesperson said it is expected to be complete by early next year.
“The first phase of the new cruise terminal under construction is expected to be ready by the end of this year, and it is expected to be completed in the first half of 2014,” a DP World spokesperson told Gulf News.
“With both the new T2 and existing Terminal, Dubai Cruise Terminal at Mina Rashid will be able to handle 14,000 passengers in a single day.”
Additionally, the new facility will feature retail stores and facilities for businesses.
Meanwhile, Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) Mina Zayed will undergo a similar expansion with upgrades to the terminal to meet market demand.
“We believe that our significant investment in improved facilities, additional security measures and improved direct access will enhance our visitors’ experience and increase Abu Dhabi’s appeal as an attractive destination,” ADPC acting chief executive Mohammad Al Shamisi said.
“We are working [in collaboration] with the Abu Dhabi Ports Company to develop Mina Zayed as the site for a permanent cruise terminal with four berths allocated for ships in excess of 100,000 tonnage and 300 metres in length.”
ADPC is also assessing the possibility of adding an extra port in the UAE.