UAE: DTCM Welcomes Costa Atlantica in Dubai
The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) celebrated the maiden call of Costa Atlantica to Dubai on the 13th December 2012, reaffirming Europe’s number one cruise company’s commitment to the region for the seventh consecutive year.
The cruise line has deployed two ships, the Costa Classica and Costa Atlantica in the region this season to operate weekly cruise itineraries in the Gulf with Dubai as their homeport increasing its capacity by 15% compared to season 2011/2012.
Mr Khalid A Bin Sulayem, DTCM Director General, said, “Expert marketing programmes in combination with the state of the art infrastructure and facilities provided in the Emirate have encouraged many cruise operators to select Dubai as a focal point of their cruise itinerary in the region”. AIDA and Costa Cruises commenced their cruise programmes in the region in 2006, followed by Royal Caribbean in 2010. This year TUI Cruises has announced its schedule for Gulf operation from Dubai. “We are also negotiating with many cruise liners to start their programmes in Dubai. The presence of world’s largest cruise operators in Dubai attracts other companies to the Emirate.”
He added, “Cruise tourism plays a pivotal role in tourism industry and DTCM pays special attention to this sector. The department developed its first cruise terminal in Rashid Port in 2001, and in 2010 opened a new cruise terminal with much higher handling capacity.”
DTCM in collaboration with Costa Cruises organised a press conference onboard the ship with attendees from various Government Departments such as General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Dubai Customs, DP World, Dubai Police, Dubai Maritime City Authority and the officials exchanged plaques with the ship captain to commemorate the maiden call. Representatives of several private companies, stakeholders and media attended the press conference, which was followed by an escorted tour of the ship as well as a lunch for all attendees.
Mr Hamad M Bin Mejren, Executive Director of Business Tourism at DTCM, commented, “The arrival of this ship to Dubai is further evidence of the Emirate’s position as a unique world class cruise destination. The milestones we have achieved in the last decade surpass what has been accomplished in any other cruise destination thanks to the focus and continued efforts by DTCM to the development of cruise tourism activities and the breakthrough marketing plans that have been developed by the Department in collaboration with officials in charge of the sector.”
“DTCM has been working tirelessly to attract more cruise line operators to Dubai and the greater UAE and look forward to a highly successful cruise season. Italian based Costa Cruises is among the first operators in the world to realize the importance of Dubai as a leading cruise destination. The firm has now further boosted its presence in Dubai and the region by brining a number of new giant ships, markedly broadening the scope of cruise tourism offerings available,” he concluded.
Costa Cruises is set to be present in the region with Costa Atlantica of 85,700 gross tonnage and Costa Classica of 53,000 gross tonnage with a capacity to carry 2,600 and 1,680 passengers respectively. The ship’s five and seven-day itineraries will start in Dubai with calls to Muscat, Khor Fakkan, Khasab, and Abu Dhabi.
Costa Cruises, who has the highest capacity committed to the region of the cruise lines present in the Gulf for winter 2012/2013, reconfirmed their presence in the region for the 2013/2014 season during the press conference. Next season Costa Fortuna (103,000 gross tonnage) with a capacity of 3,470 passengers will sail from Dubai offering a 7-day itinerary including overnight in Muscat.
Dario Rustico, Costa Cruises Sales and Marketing Director for Central Europe, Africa, Middle East and India, commented, “Dubai and the Emirates have been and will continue to be a firm point in our winter deployment. In this regard we are happy to bring Costa Fortuna to the region next season and reinforce our excellent relationship with DTCM now aimed also at developing GCC and India as two important local source markets. For this reason we reconfirmed our pioneer and innovative spirit by launching a new 5-day itinerary giving also to the residents of the UAE and the region the opportunity to easily embark and getaway for a short break.”
The Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing is sponsoring a FAM group from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia consisting of 20 top Travel agents, Corporate and media who will join the Costa Atlantica on Friday 14th February for a sales academy training and shore excursion. The agents will sail on board Costa Atlantica to familiarize themselves with the onboard facilities available for guests on this luxury cruise. Thus spreading regional awareness in the GCC for Costa cruises.
Italy-based Costa Cruises was the first company to launch weekly Gulf cruising out of Dubai in 2006-2007, as well as being the first and, as of today, still the only cruise company to have named a cruise ship in an Arabic Country, namely the Costa Deliziosa in Dubai in February 2010. The event was hosted by DTCM and coincided with the inauguration of Dubai’s brand new cruise terminal.
DTCM have commented that the continual investment of the Government of Dubai in its infrastructure, as well as the confidence of the cruise lines in this destination in combination with the support and cooperation of all involved government departments, ship agents, DMC’s and all other stake holders has resulted in Dubai emerging as a destination of choice for cruise tourism in the Middle East.
Dubai Cruise Terminals received over 390,000 passengers from 102 ship calls last season and the current season will bring 115 cruise ship calls and over a 410,000 passengers. The initiatives and continual efforts of DTCM has reaffirmed Dubai’s position as the cruise hub of the region the Department have remarked that there are a combination of highly favourable factors that are driving Dubai’s cruise tourism business towards robust growth.
Besides the obvious attractions that Dubai has to offer for tourists from around the world in the form of excellent air connectivity, good infrastructure, a multimodal transport system, world-class hotels & restaurants, vast stretches of sandy beaches, sprawling shopping malls and an array of outdoor activities, Dubai offers simple immigration formalities, customized operation procedures in a safe environment.
Dubai has been constantly enhancing its facilities and services in line with its business growth and accordingly the Dubai Cruise Terminals will have three dedicated facilities to cater to cruise lines and visitors this season. Spanning over 20,000 square meters and a pier length of 1900 meters which can conveniently accommodate up to 6 ocean going ships simultaneously, Dubai will have the largest facility in the Middle East dedicated to cruise tourism.
The continual efforts of DTCM and the Government of Dubai with the support extended by numerous government departments such as Immigration, Customs, Police, DP World, combined with the high levels of cooperation from the various cruise lines, ship agencies, DMC’s and other stakeholders, the cruise tourism sector in Dubai is set to scale to even greater heights in the years to come.
DTCM, December 17, 2012