Growth by 59% to be seen in cruise passengers for Abu Dhabi

By the cruise season end, a total of 199,113 cruise passenger arrivals are expected by Abu Dhabi. This comes as a hike of 59%, compared to the 125,200 passengers that the last cruise season brought in.

Ahmed Hussein, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) Deputy Director General said: "The increase is due to the inclusion of Abu Dhabi in Royal Caribbean International's weekly itinerary for its Brilliance of the Seas which has a passenger capacity of 2,501."

"Also Costa Cruises is to boost its service to the UAE capital by introducing larger, brand new vessels with increased passenger capacity."

It should be noted that the ships coming into port should be 100% full, if the ambitious estimate for growth is to be achieved.

With even bigger ships scheduled for next year, the new initiatives will be mulled by the ADTA, to entice even more cruise passengers into the country. ADTA has already announced plans to set up a hospitality tent to welcome passengers as they disembark from the ships.

Mr Hussein said: "Cruise business delivers much greater economic impact to the destination and also provides it with an excellent opportunity to market itself to an influential audience."

Next cruise season, two of the new ships - dubbed the Costa Deliziosa and Costa Luminosa -, both of which have a maximum capacity of 2,828 passenger, would be welcomed by Abu Dhabi.