Global marine terminal operator DP World has announced plans to expand facilities at Port Rashid in Dubai to grow its cruise tourism capacity.
Its Dubai Cruise Terminal currently has capacity to serve two ocean-going cruise ships at the same time carrying a combined 7,000 passengers.
DP World said it will expand facilities by the end of 2012 to cater for as many as five cruise ships at one time.
DP World’s vision is for Port Rashid to eventually be able to serve as many as seven cruise vessels at one time, it said in a statement.
Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, chairman, DP World said: “Development of the cruise terminal facilities at Port Rashid supports Dubai’s long-term strategy to stimulate growth and development in the traditionally strong tourism sector.
“The new facility will help Dubai tap into the rapidly growing cruise sector and will continue to be a major destination for the finest cruise ships in the world.”
Mohammed Al Muallem, senior vice president and managing director, DP World, UAE Region added: “The Port Rashid expansion is planned to be the best of its kind in the region. It will further strengthen the local economy and increase the use of Dubai’s historic port, at the centre of the city.”
Khalid Bin Sulayem, director general, Dubai Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) said he expected there to be more than 58 percent growth in cruise tourism in Dubai by 2015.
The Dubai Cruise Terminal saw a 30 percent growth in tourist traffic between 2009 and 2010, from 100 ships and 260,000 passengers to 120 ships and more than 390,000 passengers.
The pattern is set to continue in 2011, with 135 cruise vessel calls and 475,000 passengers.
Neighbouring Abu Dhabi said last week it has built a new tented cruise terminal at Mina Zayed capable of accommodating 1,300 passengers which will start operating later this month.
The facility, on the site of the former ADTA visitor information centre, will cater for the 2011/2012 and 2012/2013 cruise seasons while a permanent terminal will be built for the longer-term.
The temporary terminal, put up by the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA), working in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) and Abu Dhabi Terminals (ADT), spans 2,000 sq m and comprises two dedicated halls – one a luggage-handling facility, the other a passenger centre.