Dubai will start work on a second cruise terminal within a year in response to a growing number of cruise passenger visits, a number which is predicted to reach 165,000 for the 2007/2008 season. The passenger handling capacity of the new cruise terminal would be similar to that of the existing cruise terminal in Port Rashid, which was built in 2001 and capable of berthing two ships, and located in the same area.
Dubai is already gaining a foothold as an attractive tourist destination, especially for Europeans, who escape the to the emirate from December to March for the mild climate. Costa Cruises helped out Dubai's cruise business last year, when the European cruise operator made Dubai its regional cruise hub. Costa will deploy two ships in the region this year (it had only one operating in the region last year), Costa Romantica and Costa Europa. The two will offer a combined 25 seven-night cruises with two nights in Dubai and other port calls including Muscat, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.
Awad Seghayer Al Ketbi, executive director of Dubai Cruise Terminal, said Dubai is looking for one more cruise operator to base in the city's port, and that adding one more is justification enough for a new port. Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing said it expects the number of cruise tourists visiting Dubai to more than double to 350,000 by 2010/2011. (DE)