His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, approved the ‘Dubai Cruise Terminal’ as the main hub for cruise tourism in Dubai. His Highness also attended the signing ceremony of a strategic partnership agreement between Meraas and Carnival Corporation that aims to transform Dubai into a major regional maritime tourism hub.
Under the agreement, signed by Abdulla Al Habbai, group chairman of Meraas, and Arnold W. Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation, the companies will collaborate across several strategic areas including port development, terminal management and new cruise development opportunities at Dubai Harbour and the broader region.
Dubai is set to become central to Carnival Corporation’s operations in the region. The agreement mandates Carnival Corporation to assist Meraas in ensuring the cruise terminal meets the highest international standards of the cruise industry, while the relevant authorities will be responsible for security, immigration and customs.
The agreement highlights Meraas’ support for Dubai Tourism Vision 2020, which aims to attract 20 million visitors a year to the emirate, and strengthens the company’s contribution to Dubai Plan 2021, the strategic roadmap to establish Dubai among the world’s best cities.
Operations at the ‘Dubai Cruise Terminal’ are scheduled to commence in October 2020. Following discussions with Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and chief executive officer of DP, it was agreed on 26th March 2018, that ‘Dubai Cruise Terminal’ will become the main cruise terminal in Dubai and all cruise ships visiting Port Rashid will be redirected gradually from its opening date.
According to the Cruise Lines Industry Association, CLIA, more than 40 million people worldwide will travel on cruise ships annually by 2030, marking a 40 percent increase from 26 million passengers in 2017. At a local level, the maritime tourism sector is expected to contribute more than USD 400 million to Dubai’s economy by 2030.