Long established as an excellent maritime city with geographical advantages, excellent infrastructural facilities, ports and logistics, Dubai started looking at developing cruise tourism very lately compared with other destinations. However, the emirate utilized its relatively late entry into cruise tourism sector to its advantage by creating better facilities and services than others in the near and farr. The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) see Dubai benefiting immensely from the cruise industry in the coming years.

Operated by the DTCM, the Dubai Cruise Terminal was officially inaugurated by His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, UAE Defense Minister and Chairman of the DTCM on 26th March 2001 at the state-of-the-art Port Rashid complex.

Earlier, the department operated a temporary cruise terminal since October 1999. Dubai began to tap the potential of this dynamic sector in the mid-1990s.

It set up a division in the DTCM in 1997 to spearhead the growth in cruise tourism. The only obstacle, however, was the lack of a dedicated cruise terminal.

The ship-shaped building is located on a 335-metre quay offering the capacity to berth two ships simultaneously, while the terminal itself is around 3,300 square meters in size.

The Dubai Cruise Terminal is the world's first to receive ISO-9002 certification and also the world's only cruise facility run by the government tourism body.

Mr. Khalid A bin Sulayem, Director General of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said: "Cruise tourism plays a crucial role in the overall growth and development of the tourism industry in Dubai. We realized its importance long ago and created the infrastructure and services that were needed to tap its potential."

He added: "There has been an impressive growth in cruise tourist arrivals since the start of the Dubai Cruise Terminal. We will continue to devote our efforts to further promote this economically-crucial sector of the tourism industry."

Dubai emerged formally on the world cruise map in 1993 when it welcomed a cruise ship with 703 passengers on board. Cruise ships with 10,000 passengers were scheduled to visit Dubai this year.

Mr. bin Sulayem said the bulk of the cruise tourists come from the UK, Germany and the US markets.

In a survey, 80 per cent of the cruise passengers in Dubai revealed that they would extend their visit to the emirate during their next visit and 95 per cent said they would recommend others to visit Dubai to enjoy its all-appealing facilities, pristine beaches and unparalleled shopping options.

Mr. bin Sulayem said Dubai leads the Middle East in the cruise ship passenger exchange during their itineraries.

Dubai is considered as the home to one of the best cruise terminals and its world-class facility received global recognition when it won the best cruise terminal prize in a trade show in Miami in the US.

From a mere eight calls by cruise liners in 1996, the landmark facility played host to 12,771 cruise tourists between 2001 and 2003.

Cruise tourists from across the world are expected to be around 12,000 in 2005, up from an approximately 8,000 visitors in 2004.

As many as 15 cruise ships are scheduled to arrive in Dubai in 2005. The emirate is hopeful about the year 2005 witnessing over 33 % growth in cruise passengers compared with the previous year.

Mr. Awadh Al Seghayer, Acting Manager of the Dubai Cruise Terminal, said: "We started the New Year on an aggressive note and the arrival of the cruise ships from different parts of the world is expected to enhance our image of an ideal year-round business and leisure destination. The department's aggressive promotional agenda is helping the world get enlightened about Dubai's cruise tourism."

He added: "Dubai has a rich maritime history and is undergoing rapid developments and expansion. This exhibition allows the world to explore the facilities and services that have made the emirate a sought-after place for business."

The facilities available at the cruise terminal are

Information Centre


Internet Access Business Centre

VIP Reception Area

Prayer Room

Heritage and Cultural Display

Extended Duty Free

Post Office


Rental Unit for the Private Sector (Banks, Rent-A-Car, Hotels, Malls)

Immigration, Customs & Security Offices

Semi-Automated Baggage Handling System

Public Taxi Stand

Relaxation Area

Home Entertainment System

All the facilities are handicap-friendly


1.02 days

1.23 days

2.05 days

2.47 days

2002 1.5 days

2003 1.8 day

For further information, please contact:

*Mohammed Abdul Mannan, Executive, Media Relations
*Shilpi Pillai, Officer, Media Relations

Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing
P.O. Box 594, Dubai - United Arab Emirates
Tel: +9714 2230000 Fax: +9714 2230022

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