Bahrain’s General Organisation Of Sea Ports Supports 1st Middle East Cruise Forum As Key Partner
The General Organisation of Sea Ports (GOP,) has partnered with the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Ministry of Culture and Information (Tourism Directorate) to host the first Middle East Cruise Forum, showcasing Bahrain’s state-of-the-art cruise facilities and establish the Kingdom as a major cruise tourism destination.
The two-day forum, which is being organised by Seatrade and held under the patronage of Her Excellency Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, Minister of Culture and Information, kicked off today at the Al Areen Palace and Spa, bringing together more than 100 experts and leaders from the global cruise industry. The conference focuses on four main themes: growing momentum for cruise tourism in the region, ports, terminals and destinations, shore excursions and finally marketing, which will focus on how the region can effectively market itself as a cruise destination.
Mr. Hassan Ali Al Majed, Director General of the General Organisation of Sea Ports, represented Bahrain among with other leading speakers at the opening session panel to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with increasing cruise tourism in the region. Other panel speakers included: Dr Heba Al Aziz, Executive Director, Tourism Sector, Ministry of Culture and Information, Bahrain, Ahmed Abdallah Al Nuaimi, Chairman, Qatar Tourism and Exhibition Authority and Laurent Monsaingeon, past president of Medcruise.
Commenting on GOP’s involvement in the forum Mr. Al Majed, said: “GOP is committed to playing an active role in promoting Bahrain’s world-class cruise facilities at the new Khalifa Bin Salman Port, and we are keen to play our role in positioning the region as a must-see destination for tourists. Bahrain has a unique offering among other countries in the region and we are confident that the increase in cruise tourism through KBSP will help promote the Kingdom’s rich cultural heritage and archeological legacy.”
“By working with our neighbours and through knowledge transfer in forums such as these, we expect to establish a strong regional proposition for cruise lines. We highly appreciate the Ministry of Culture and Information’s timely initiative to bring this event to Bahrain and we will continue to provide support to such events.
“We have invited several of our counterparts from around the region to attend in order to unify the industry, share best practice and raise the bar for all involved in the cruise industry,” he added.
Global cruise executives representing leading cruise-liner companies including Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line, Silversea, TUI Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Sea Cloud attended the forum, which was held during a cruise season that has been especially prosperous. In the first two months of the year, 22 cruise vessels with over 26,000 passengers visited Bahrain.
As part of their visit to Bahrain, the cruise executives took a tour of Bahrain’s new deepwater seaport, Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP) which offers state-of-the-art facilities including: integrated wireless network port communications, mobile wireless broadband access, and real-time communications between the ships and their customers and business partners. Additionally, KBSP has global electronic data systems which automate operational documents, leading to faster communications, reduced data preparation and improved reliability.
KBSP, being one of the most recent entrants into the regional port sector, has the capacity to accommodate the new generation of container, cargo and cruise vessels navigating in the region’s waters. It has a total quayside of 1,800 metres and an approximate 15 metre dredged depth at berth side. KBSP’s passenger terminal is a dedicated single-storey terminal with a total built-in area of 2,550 square metres. Designed to facilitate the most efficient processing of immigration procedures, the terminal houses a Duty Free shop and customs and immigration offices.