Cruise Arabia, the Arabian Gulf’s cruise tourism alliance, promoted the region’s 2016/2017 winter/spring cruise season at Seatrade Cruise Global 2016 in the USA this month. Sharjah is an active member of the cruise alliance, which also includes tourism authorities from Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Qatar and Oman. Seatrade Cruise Global is the leading annual global business-to-business event for the cruise industry and took place in Fort Lauderdale, Florida from 14-17 March.
Sharjah’s cruise tourism offering was promoted at Seatrade Cruise Global by Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), Sharjah Investment & Development Authority (Shurooq) and cruise industry representatives.
Sharjah has had a busy 2015/2016 cruise season and expects to have received 37 port calls from cruise ships, bringing an estimated 80,000 cruise passengers to the emirate, by the season’s close. The emirate offers two terminals for international cruise liners: Khorfakkan port on the east coast and Port Khalid on the Arabian Gulf coast in the heart of Sharjah city.
Sharjah is building a new leisure cruise ship terminal in Khorfakkan, in line with the emirate’s plans to continue to develop its cruise tourism business. The deep sea port has been welcoming luxury cruise-liners since the early 1980s and is becoming increasingly popular on the itineraries of international operators. The new cruise ship terminal is planned to be a fully-functioning terminal capable of receiving all visiting cruise ships, their passengers and crew, to include dedicated facilities for port customs, immigration authorities, police and visiting tourists.
GCC countries are expected to have received more than a million visits from cruise passengers by the end of the 2015-2016 cruise season and Sharjah’s cruise business has enjoyed steady growth. Sharjah receives cruise liner visits from TUI Cruises, MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises, with most cruise passengers originating in Europe.
Cruise tourism forms an integral part of Sharjah’s tourism development strategy, Tourism Vision 2021, which aims to attract more than 10 million tourists to the emirate by year 2021.
Source: Cruise Arabia, SCTDA