The largest and most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE)— with a population of just over 3 million — has a modern skyline that includes the world’s tallest building, the 2,722 foot-tall Burj Khalifa.
Now, Dubai would like to develop a new cruise ship terminal that would transform the city into a major regional maritime tourism hub.
“We welcome visitors from across the world and provide them with an exceptional tourism experiences. We want them to leave with lasting memories that they can share in their countries and communities,” says His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
HH Sheikh Mohammed’s remarks came as he approved the “Dubai Cruise Terminal” as the main hub for cruise tourism in Dubai. His Highness also attended the signing ceremony of a strategic partnership agreement between Meraas and Carnival Corporation & plc that aims to transform Dubai into a major regional maritime tourism hub.
The event was attended by Crown Prince of Dubai HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Under the agreement, signed by His Excellency Abdulla Al Habbai, Group Chairman of Meraas, and Arnold W. Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, the companies will collaborate across several strategic areas including port development, terminal management and new cruise development opportunities at Dubai Harbor and the broader region.
Dubai is set to become central to Carnival Corporation’s operations in the region. The agreement mandates Carnival Corporation to assist Meraas in ensuring the cruise terminal meets the highest international standards of the cruise industry, while the relevant authorities will be responsible for security, immigration and customs.
The deal highlights Meraas' support for Dubai Tourism Vision 2020, which aims to attract 20 million visitors a year to the emirate, and strengthens the company’s contribution to Dubai Plan 2021, the strategic roadmap to establish Dubai among the world's best cities.
Operations at the Dubai Cruise Terminal are scheduled to commence in October 2020.
According to the Cruise Lines Industry Association (CLIA), more than 40 million people worldwide will travel on cruise ships annually by 2030, marking a 40 percent increase from 26 million passengers in 2017. At a local level, the maritime tourism sector is expected to contribute more than AED1.5 billion to Dubai’s economy by 2030.
The ‘’Dubai Cruise Terminal’ at Dubai Harbour will become Carnival Corporation’s primary hub for its homeporting and transit operations in the region. The partnership will also result in both parties working together to identify and grow the cruise tourism business in the Arabian Gulf region.
Dubai Harbor will be home to two cruise terminal buildings, spanning a total of 30,000 square metres, joined by a single quay of about 1 kilometre, capable of accommodating up to three cruise ships concurrently, including Carnival Corporation’s newest and most advanced cruise ships, as well as up to 13,200 passengers at a time. In anticipation of an upsurge in cruises, Meraas has planned for the addition of two more terminal buildings that will increase capacity to six cruise ships at the same time.