ABU DHABI- The concept design of Abu Dhabi’s planned permanent cruise passenger terminal is to be unveiled later this month at Europe’s most prestigious cruise event, Seatrade Med 2014, from 16-18 September in Barcelona, Spain.
The model is being showcased by Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) following an international design competition and extensive industry stakeholder input. An important element of the competition was the commitment to hire two leading Emirati architectural graduates, to join the project team for the development of the architectural design.
ADPC will be at Seatrade Med with an Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) delegation in the emirate’s first dedicated ‘Cruise Abu Dhabi’ international promotion. The Abu Dhabi contingent will meet leading cruise operators and press the emirate’s case as an alternative and preferred winter cruise destination.
Capt. Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, CEO, ADPC, and Sultan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director Tourism, TCA Abu Dhabi, will reveal plans for Abu Dhabi’s new Zayed Port cruise passenger terminal and outline a number of initiatives which are expected to boost the emirate’s cruise appeal.
ADPC and TCA Abu Dhabi will present the new building concept, which was chosen following an international design competition, with the help of a scale model and a video ‘fly-through’ which shows the facilities and style of the new building. Ground clearance for construction of the terminal is underway.
Capt. Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi: “This is the first time ADPC has promoted Cruise Abu Dhabi at an international event, all of the top cruise lines will be represented, along with thousands of people from the wider travel industry. This exhibition will be a good opportunity to mix with key decision makers, our new terminal plans are already attracting a lot of attention, demonstrating how very serious we are about developing this important market for the emirate.”
Abu Dhabi’s cruise ambitions have also been boosted recently following new visa regulation moves which includes an AED200 (US $55) multi-entry cruise visa for the UAE.
“The new visa fee makes it much more affordable for operators to promote Arabian itineraries, of which Abu Dhabi is a key stopover,” said Sultan Al Dhaheri. “It is being well received by the industry and we will shortly assist operators further with the inclusion of a dedicated cruise promotion sector on our www.visitabudhabi.ae destination portal.”
“Cruise lines are increasingly looking for ports-of-call in more exotic locations and shore excursions that are original, exciting, once-in-a-life-time experiences and we are again working extremely closely with local stakeholders and cruise operators to ensure Abu Dhabi delivers exceptional, memorable and appealing shorex experiences.”
Abu Dhabi is now working with Dubai and Oman in a ‘Cruise Arabia’ alliance to build the region’s international cruise appeal.
Each port in the Cruise Arabia initiative offers a very different range of attractions for visiting passengers, which is exactly what the cruise lines look for. Zayed Port cruise passenger terminal is ideally located close to the centre of the city and its exciting attractions, from the Louvre Abu Dhabi which will open in 2015 to Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Yas Waterworld to mention just a few.
The 2013/2014 cruise season which ran from November to April, was the busiest yet for Abu Dhabi, with a record 10 maiden calls (first-time visits) and 189,709 passengers visiting the UAE capital on 75 calls into Zayed Port during the season. In comparison, during the 2006/2007 cruise season Zayed Port hosted just 29 cruise ships and 35,366 passengers.
Cruise ships currently calling at Zayed Port are served by a temporary passenger terminal which has extensive facilities including currency exchange, visitor information services, souvenirs and food & beverage offerings.
Seatrade Med 2014 attracts more than 4,000 visitors from more than 40 countries with exhibitors looking to build relationships with the cruise lines and wider travel industry.