Growth in the global cruise industry looks set to strengthen tourist links between the UAE and Singapore, with both countries developing terminals to meet expected increases in demand, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said today.
Earlier this month the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing announced that the emirate’s new cruise terminal, which can hold four ships at once, will be ready for business in January 2010.
The opening of the Dubai terminal is expected to boost the number of cruise passengers entering the emirate from 260,000 to 380,000 per annum, surpassing market analysts’ predictions of a six percent annual global growth rate to 2020.
At the same time Singapore has broken ground on its International Cruise Terminal (ICT), which once complete in 2011, will double the city’s berthing capacity. Cruise passenger throughput has grown steadily, registering an average annual growth rate of 12 percent between 2003 and 2008.
The industry has remained resilient amid the economic downturn, seeing a 20 percent growth in arrivals in the first half of 2009 compared the same period last year, according to STB figures.
It is estimated that Singapore will welcome its one-millionth cruise passenger by year end. Singapore aims to welcome 1.6 million cruise passengers by 2015.
“Asia with its varied landscapes, warm hospitality and multi-cultural appeal is fast becoming the new cruise playground. Leveraging on our excellent air, land and sea connectivity, we aim to make Singapore the cruise hub of the region and welcome more travelers from the Middle East,” said Jason Ong, Area Director of the Middle East and Africa, STB.
“The new cruise ship terminals in Dubai and Singapore will help meet the growth in demand from regional travelers and strengthen tourism links between the two cities. Singapore offers travelers an excellent holiday destination, with top family friendly attractions, luxurious hotels, lush urban nature and some of the best shopping in the world,” he added.
In line with market trends Royal Caribbean International has announced a 13-night cruise from Dubai to Singapore that will depart on November 4 - followed by the launch of a Middle East itinerary starting in January 2010 in Dubai.
Lakshmi Durai, Executive Director of Middle East Royal Caribbean said: “Dubai and Singapore are both fast emerging cruise hubs. We’re very lucky to be working so closely with these ports as both have shown tremendous support to the growth of the cruise industry in their respective markets.”
“The increase of new and impressive cruise terminals means Royal Caribbean International will be able to provide its future guests with a truly first-class experience from beginning to end,” Durai added.
Singapore ICT will be a world-class development strategically located in the city’s new downtown lifestyle and financial hub which is home to new leisure and entertainment attractions, such as the Singapore Flyer, Marina Bay SandsTM, Gardens by the Bay and the Marina Barrage.
ICT’s deep waters, a large turning basin and lack of height restrictions, the world’s largest ships, such as Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas being built now, will be able to call at Singapore and enjoy dedicated cruise terminal facilities.
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