Mubarak Al Muhairi, director general, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, announced that Abu Dhabi will soon have a permanent cruise terminal at Mina Zayed Port. The announcement was made during the Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum held from December 9-11, 2013, at the Rosewood Abu Dhabi.
Al Muhari said a site for the permanent facility had now been selected, with a decision on the concept design expected for the first quarter of 2014 and a detailed design expected to be issued by the second quarter of 2014.
“The current temporary terminal site has now been earmarked as the site of the permanent one,” said Al Muhairi. “The first development phase is complete. Abu Dhabi Ports Company has invested heavily – around 12 million dirhams (more than $3.2 million) – in improving the roads and security around the site.”
Addressing the Forum, at which key decision-makers from cruise lines around the world are being hosted, Al Muhairi called on the operators to input into the planning process.
“We want a state-of-the-art facility which meets all your requirements, including warehousing and cold storage,” said Al Muhairi.
In the meantime, Al Muhairi said Abu Dhabi would play to its strengths in serving the cruise sector.
“Mina Zayed’s deep draught with its dedicated cruise quay walls means we can handle three or four cruise ships at one time,” he said.
He added that TCA Abu Dhabi has recently upgraded and expanded the temporary terminal to include a range of passenger services.
Al Muhairi said TCA Abu Dhabi is working with authorities in Al Gharbia on developing a cruise day stop-over in the emirate’s western region, to be ready for inclusion in 2015/2016 itineraries.
Al Muhairi explained that Abu Dhabi is differentiating its shore excursion itineraries for cruise passengers via its headline attractions on Yas Island, including Ferrari World Abu Dhabi and Yas Waterworld, and said the upcoming cultural institutions on Saadiyat Island, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi which is due to open in 2015, would further set the emirate apart.
Al Muhairi went on to pledge that the destination would work hand-in-hand with cruise operators and their agents to nurture sector growth.