Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) will host Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum 2015 on December 7-8 at the Marsa Malaz Kempinski in Doha.
In its National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030, QTA has identified the cruise industry as a major focus in the coming years and the outlook for Qatar to become a major cruise destination looks exceptionally bright.
QTA estimates that visitor arrivals from cruises into Qatar have the potential to rise by 350,000 within a year once the New Doha Port can accommodate larger cruise ships.
Working alongside organisers, Seatrade, the forum will bring together cruise line executives with government representatives and industry stakeholders from the ports, tourism, immigration and security departments to discuss the future of cruising in the Arabian Gulf.
This year’s chapter follows on from previous events that have been hosted in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Dubai and most recently in Muscat, Oman.
The interactive forum will focus on generating new ideas for co-operation between destinations, and the role of initiatives such as the Cruise Arabia Alliance in creating more opportunities for cruise lines.
The forum comes as QTA renews efforts to boost cruise tourism, in line with the industry’s 20% growth in the region.
In addition to joining the Cruise Arabia Alliance with the tourism authorities of Oman, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah, QTA has plans to welcome eight cruise ships to the New Doha Port during the upcoming six-month cruise season.
“We look forward to working with our partners to uncover the exciting opportunities that the cruise industry presents, as well as explore innovative ways to tackle some of the challenges of operating in this region,” QTA chairman Issa bin Mohamed al-Mohannadi said in a statement.
He noted that the number of cruise ships and their size is increasing regionally. “The very nature of cruise tourism means that the growth of one destination adds to the overall attractiveness of the region to cruise operators, and the success of the regional itinerary.”
Al-Mohannadi added that the region offers cruise passengers a unique new experience that is entirely different and distinct from the traditional, long-established cruise itineraries that cover the Caribbean, Mediterranean and other such familiar and well-travelled routes.
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