International cruise line executives arrive in Dubai ahead of regional summit and forum

17 cruise line executives from 14 of the world’s leading cruise lines are converging on Dubai this week for the annual Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum taking place at Lapita™; located within Dubai Parks and Resorts, Dubai, UAE from 12-13 December 2017.

Cruise lines represented include:  AIDA Cruises; Carnival UK; Crystal Cruises; Cunard; Cruise & Maritime Voyages; Marella Cruises, TUI Group; MSC Cruises; P&O Cruises; Pullmantur Cruceros; Royal Caribbean Cruise Ltd; TUI Cruises GmbH; Star Clippers; Windstar Cruises; Virgin Voyages.  Both Star Clippers and Virgin Voyages are new cruise lines to attend the event.

Over two days the executives will meet with a network of senior government representatives and key cruise industry stakeholders to discuss and assess 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,” said Chris Hayman, Chairman, Seatrade UBM EMEA. “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, which the destination appears to be on course for.

Day One will open with a series of insightful industry keynote messages from: Chris Hayman, Chairman, Seatrade UBM EMEA; Ahmed Al Rayyes, General Manager Retail and Hospitality, DXB Entertainments; Issam Kazim, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Corporation of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM); Esam Ahmed, Commercial Manager, Mina Rashid & Mina Hamriyah, DP World and Tim Lowther, Manager Leisure Market and Special Segments, Global Sales, Emirates.

The opening Summit Session will concentrate on ‘managing growth and planning for the future’ and feature addresses from cruise line executives and regional stakeholders including: Saeed Al Dhaheri, Cruise Sector and City Tour Development Manager, Department of Culture & Tourism (DCT) Abu Dhabi; Mohammed Zahran Al Mahruqi, Program Director, ASYAD, Oman; Yousef AlKhan, Director of Marketing & Tourism Promotion, Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority (BTEA); Hamad Mohammed Bin Shaik Mejren, SVP, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism); Shaji Thomas, Director Destination Tourism Development, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority;  and Shri Yashodhan A Wanage, Deputy Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust.

The conference programme on Day Two 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.

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.