Abu Dhabi Ports, the master developer, operator and manager of the Emirate's commercial and community ports, as well as Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD), says it has just wrapped up its best-ever cruise season at Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal with the maiden call of Princess Cruise Lines’ Majestic Princess.
The company says it recorded "booming growth" for the year with a 40 percent increase in vessel calls and a 48 percent overall increase in passengers to Zayed Port and Sir Bani Yas Island Cruise Beach from last year.
The 2016/2017 cruise season saw more than 345,662 tourists visit the Emirate, up from 232,605 in 2015/2016. Likewise, vessel numbers increased from 115 in 2015/2016 to 161 in 2016/2017.
Abu Dhabi Port’s two cruise destinations are Zayed Port and the Sir Bani Yas Island Cruise Beach, which was launched during last year’s season as the first dedicated cruise beach and eco-tourism stopover.
Following on last season’s success with a 16 percent growth in passengers, this year the company recorded a 48 percent increase in passengers arriving at the terminals - close to six times the eight percent increase expected by the company last year.
Captain Mohamed Al Shamisi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports, said that the strong season reflects the growth of Abu Dhabi as a global hub and that over the past several years, the city has made significant investments in its port infrastructure and tourism offerings.
“We launched Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach as a ‘must visit’ destination on cruise liner routes this season, which has contributed to a 40 percent growth in a number of vessel calls this season, doubling last year’s forecast of a 21 percent increase for 2016/2017,” said Abdulkareem Al Masabi, executive vice president at Abu Dhabi Ports, in a written release. “We look forward to launching the new season and further success.”