The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (DCT Abu Dhabi) has announced the resumption of cruise liners in the emirate with effect from September 1, 2021. The cruise liners were shut down in 2020 as part of the COVID-19 precautionary measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus in the emirate
Responding to the development, Ali Al Shaiba, Executive Director of Tourism and Marketing at DCT Abu Dhabi, expressed delight in the return of cruise liners in Abu Dhabi after a year of closure due to COVID-19. He noted that the decision has been made in line with the ongoing efforts to revive the Emirate’s tourism sector after the authorities achieved successful results in containing the spread of the virus. He underlined that it is yet another step towards enhancing the UAE capital’s global position as a world-class hub for maritime tourism.
"We will continue to work closely with our partners at Abu Dhabi Ports to further boost the maritime tourism sector and attract more businesses and tourists providing them with unparalleled services and experiences while exploring Abu Dhabi and its diverse offerings," Al Shaiba added.
Noura Rashed Al Dhaheri, Managing Director - Cruise Business, Abu Dhabi Ports, also welcomed the decision, noting that the entity is well prepared to receive and provide top-class hospitality to vaccinated visitors arriving in Abu Dhabi. Al Dhaheri further expressed excitement towards the resumption of cruise activities at both Zayed Port and Sir Bani Yas Island.
In accordance with the existing health protocols for international arrivals in the emirate, Abu Dhabi Ports is implementing a number of safety measures to strengthen the protection of passengers and crew. These measures include daily sterilisation activities across the terminal, mandatory PCR testing before embarkation, and implementation of a comprehensive emergency response plan to handle suspected positive cases within the terminal.
"Cruise passengers visiting Abu Dhabi can be assured that every measure to safeguard their health and safety during their stay is being undertaken," Al Dhaheri noted.
DCT Abu Dhabi will be launching an array of initiatives in the coming months in line with its strategy to boost the sector's post-pandemic recovery. These initiatives include various upcoming projects and events along with participation in international events with the aim of promoting Abu Dhabi as a leading destination for global audiences.
Notably, maritime tourism in Abu Dhabi witnessed splendid growth in the year 2019. With over 500,000 cruise visitors arriving in the Emirate’s ports throughout the year, 2019 marked a record-breaking year for Abu Dhabi's marine tourism sector. Abu Dhabi witnessed a 46 percent increase in cruise arrival in 2019, compared to 2018. In addition, the number of cruise calls surged 43 percent in 2019, reaching a total of 192, compared to the previous year.
Meanwhile, several landmark projects are currently underway in Abu Dhabi, such as Al Qana, the 2.4-kilometre canal project, world’s first Warner Bros Hotel, Waterfront of Al Qana, Middle East's largest aquarium, and Snow Abu Dhabi – the world’s largest indoor snow park measuring 11,660 square metres. These projects are set to open in the emirate later this year.