International cruise line attendance confirmed for Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum

London, UK (26 November 2017) - Leading cruise line representatives are set to meet with a network of senior government representatives and key cruise industry stakeholders at next month’s Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum, taking place at Lapita™; located within Dubai Parks and Resorts – the hosts of this year’s event.

Global cruise line brands such as AIDA Cruises, Carnival UK and Pullmantur Cruceros are among those committed to assessing the region’s potential; new opportunities on offer and key issues affecting the development of cruise tourism within the Arabian Gulf.

Cruise tourism within the Arabian Gulf has experienced explosive growth over the past five years. As deployment continues to boom, destinations across the region have already made major investments in cruise terminal facilities to accommodate an expanding fleet of ships, which are increasing in capacity from season to season.

Such expansion is providing a major benefit to both ports and destinations throughout the region. Between the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons, Dubai saw a 22% growth in the number of cruise ships deployed and a 33% growth in passenger traffic. The target for 2020 is one million passengers, of which the destination appears to be on course for.

“As the Arabian Gulf continues to make outstanding progress towards its goal of becoming a major cruise destination, Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum is set to once again provide the perfect platform to discuss the current state of the region’s cruise tourism strategy; identify new opportunities available and find solutions for potential issues that could impact its growth,” said Chris Hayman, Chairman, Seatrade. “Therefore, we are delighted that many cruise line brands have demonstrated their commitment to the region by taking part in a series of conference sessions throughout the event.”

The conference programme will put a spotlight on a number of key discussion points, including extending seasonality; opportunities for niche cruising; port and destination development; the link with India; the Suez Canal and Red Sea; shore excursion offerings; supporting the needs of the crew and exploiting the potential for inbound Chinese tourism.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to observe the high-level discussion of the influential Summit session, taking place on the first day of the event. As the region continues to consolidate its position as a fully established cruise destination, and with more cruise line new entrants in prospect, senior government representatives and NTOs from across the region will give their views on how the success so far achieved in cruise tourism can be sustained and extended, and the plans for further infrastructure investment.  Leading cruise line executives will give their assessment of the region and its potential, looking at the opportunities it presents and the operating challenges it provides in a competitive market.

Taking place this year from 12 – 13 December 2017, Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum has become a fixture on the regional cruise event calendar and been held for the past consecutive years in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman and Qatar and previously in Bahrain. The event’s return to Dubai reflects the regional significance for the future of cruising in the Arabian Gulf.