04 December, 2013

Oman, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, join together to promote the Arabian Gulf as a destination for Cruise Tourism

The Ministry of Tourism Oman (Oman Tourism), Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) have announced a partnership to promote cruise tourism in the GCC.

Oman, Abu Dhabi and Dubai, join together to promote the Arabian Gulf as a destination for Cruise Tourism
04 December 2013
Tourism Authorities partner with leading Cruise lines Costa and MSC Cruises in a six city roadshow
The Ministry of Tourism Oman (Oman Tourism), Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) have announced a partnership to promote cruise tourism in the GCC.

The partnership was launched with a Cruise Gulf Road Show which took place from 25th November to 3rd December 2013, touring several cities in the GCC, with the objectives of increasing the number of residents in the region who consider cruise as a holiday option; increasing the awareness of the Gulf as a cruise tourism destination; and to train and motivate regional travel trade agents to sell cruises in the Gulf sailing out of Dubai.

Dubai is the cruise hub of the region, with state-of-the-art infrastructure and services, including the largest cruise facility in the Middle East - which is set to be bolstered further by a substantial expansion in the 2013-2014 season. The Emirate has been the home port for the world's leading cruise lines such as Costa, Aida, Royal Caribbean, TUI and MSC Cruises. Costa, Aida and MSC has confirmed gulf cruise itineraries out of Dubai for 2013/2014 season. The port of Oman and Abu Dhabi are a vital part of these itineraries.

His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said: "The Cruise Gulf Road Show presents a tremendous opportunity to demonstrate the continued growth and success of Dubai's cruise tourism industry and to join with our partners from  Oman  and Abu Dhabi cruise industries to promote the Gulf as an attractive cruising destination. Following significant investment in infrastructure for cruise tourism across the region, the Middle East is increasingly recognized as a key growth market for the cruise industry and by working closely with our partners from Oman and Abu Dhabi we can contribute to this growth."

The delegation comprised of the representatives from the three tourism authorities and Cruise line Costa and MSC visited a number of GCC neighbors over the six day roadshow, targeting an overall audience of 400-450 leading travel agents and other key stakeholders. The roadshow arrived in Kuwait on Monday 25th November, followed by Bahrain on the 26th and Qatar on the 27th. It then traveled to Saudi Arabia from 1-3 December, spending a single day each in Jeddah, Riyadh and Al Khobar. On each occasion, speeches and presentations by Oman Tourism, TCA Abu Dhabi and DTCM, were followed by presentations by MSC and Costa Cruises, a question and answer session, and a dinner for attendees.

Salim Al Mamari, Director General of Tourism Development, Oman Ministry of Tourism, said, "These are truly exciting times for the GCC region's tourism industry, particularly across the luxury cruise segment, which has demonstrated continuous growth. In line with this, the joint venture agreement between Oman's Ministry of Tourism, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing in Dubai and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority proves to be both timely and strategic as it joins hands in positioning the region as a premiere cruising destination--ultimately driving in huge economic and development opportunities for the whole GCC."

Sultan Al Dhaheri, Director, Tourism Eco-Systems, Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority commented: "Abu Dhabi has long-term cruise industry ambitions and is working closely with our regional destination partners to progress a GCC-wide approach to fulfill the needs of operators. To build the business we need to provide the desired physical infrastructure, supply enticing and engaging shore excursions and assist the operators by building the profile of the industry among the regional travel trade and consumers. We are putting intense effort behind reaching our goals and anticipate a gradual evolution of the regional cruise industry and uptake in cruise offerings from within the GCC and beyond".


MSC and Costa Cruises Italian companies with 12 and 14 ships respectively are two of the globe's most popular cruise providers, offering expeditions to a plethora of destinations around the world. Both have chosen Dubai to be among their home ports this cruise season.  

Dario Rustico, Director of Sales & Marketing, Central Europe, Africa, Middle East and India, Costa Cruises said: "The UAE and the GCC Region is a firm fixture in our winter deployment since 2006 and our participation to the Cruise Gulf Road Show is the first of many activities we have in the pipeline, in line with our plan to invest more to develop the local source market. For the 2013/2014 season, we will deploy two ships in the region - the Costa Fortuna with a capacity for 3,470 passengers and the Costa NeoRiviera which has a capacity for 1,727 passengers - offering cruises calling at Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Khasab. The two ships will make a total of 27 cruises in the region and next year we will deploy a larger ship, the Costa Serena, which has a capacity for 3,780 passengers for another 17 cruises".

The MSC Cruises liner MSC Lirica returns to the United Arab Emirates for the 2013/2014 winter season, taking travelers on what it describes as an unparalleled journey of discovery through the region's rich traditions, vibrant modernity and dramatic landscapes. From 23 November 2013 until 29 March 2014, MSC Lirica will offer 8Day/7Night cruises from Dubai, calling in Abu Dhabi-UAE, Khor al Fakkan-UAE, and Muscat and Khasab-Oman, with an overnight stay in Dubai allowing travellers to enjoy the unique nightlife of this glittering oasis of the desert.

Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises, said: "MSC Cruises' return to the Emirates reaffirms our strong belief in the region's potential as an innovative and highly desirable destination for cruise travelers."


About Oman Tourism:
The Oman Cruise sector marketing strategy aims to promote our destination internationally as a quality Cruise destination. The Ministry's portfolio of marketing activities adds to wide ranging of cruise development programs that showcase Oman as a preferred cruise location with different cruise liners and cruise sector tourists. Our cruise marketing focus is to position Oman as a quality destination for an authentic Arabian visitor experience. Culture, heritage, nature and adventure with 3 major cruise hubs: Muscat, Salalah and Khasab.

About TCA Abu Dhabi:
The Authority's mission is to promote the heritage, culture and traditions of Abu Dhabi emirate worldwide.  Its activities are designed to support the emirate's evolution into a world-class, sustainable destination which makes a unique contribution to the global cultural landscape while conserving its singular character and ecosystem.

TCA Abu Dhabi is a multi-faceted organisation with a mandate grounded in Abu Dhabi's 2030 Economic Vision as laid down by Their Highnesses Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President and Ruler of Abu Dhabi and Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The Authority manages the emirate's tourism sector and markets it internationally through a wide range of activities and major events, aimed at attracting both culturally sensitive visitors and increased investment. While it is busy forging new relationships across the world, the Authority is also focusing on developments at home. A clear priority is to ensure the preservation of Abu Dhabi's cultural heritage, especially its historic and archaeological sites.  However, its focus is not solely on the past. As part of its management of the emirate's tourism sector, the Authority is also responsible for overseeing the development of the new, landmark museums in Abu Dhabi's Saadiyat Island Cultural District, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. It is also committed to supporting an ongoing programme of events and intellectual and artistic activities aimed at nurturing a cultural environment that will be enriching for residents and visitors alike.

About DTCM:
DTCM is the principal authority for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of Dubai's tourism sector; markets and promotes the Emirate's commerce sector; and is responsible for the licensing and classification of all tourism services, including hotels, tour operators and travel agents. Brands and departments within the DTCM portfolio include Dubai Convention and Events Bureau, Dubai Calendar, and Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (formerly known as Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment). In addition to its headquarters in Dubai, DTCM operates 20 offices worldwide.

About Costa Cruises:
Costa Cruises is Europe's no. 1 cruise company ( For over 60 years its ships have plied the seas of the world, offering the best in Italian style, hospitality and cuisine and providing dream holidays with the utmost in terms of fun and relaxation.  Its fleet has a total of 14 ships in service; a  new ship has been ordered from Fincantieri and will be delivered in October 2014. Costa Cruises has been certified by RINA (Italian Shipping Register) with the BEST4, an integrated system of voluntary certification of corporate compliance with the highest standards governing social accountability (SA 8000, issued in 2008, thanks to the first voluntary pilot program in the maritime industry), environment (UNI EN ISO 14001, 2004), safety (OHSAS 18001, 2007) and quality (UNI EN ISO 9001, 2008) (  All the ships in the Costa fleet have been assigned RINA's Green Star notation certifying that they are operated in compliance with the highest environmental protection standards. With revenues of 3.1 billion euros and 2.3 million total Guests in 2011, Costa Crociere S.p.A. is the largest Italian travel group and comprises the brands Costa Cruises, AIDA Cruises and Iberocruceros.  Costa Crociere S.p.A. is a member of Carnival Corporation & plc (NYSE/LSE: CCL; NYSE: CUK), the world's largest cruise operator.

About MSC Cruises:
MSC Cruises is a leader in the Mediterranean cruise market, sailing in the region throughout the year, as well as offering a wide range of seasonal itineraries in Northern Europe, the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean and the Antilles, South America, South Africa, the Canary Islands, and The United Arab Emirates. Outstanding service, distinctive Italian style, state-of the-art technology and respect of the environment are out top priorities.

For more information, please contact;
SAHARA Communications
00971 4 3298996 / 00971 50 1714347
Maria Gilitwal

© Press Release 2013