Seven cruise ships with up to 17,500 visitors will berth in Qatar during the 2017/2018 season, giving a fillip to the country’s plans to become an emerging cruise destination.
German cruise liner TUI Cruises will be including Qatar in its itineraries, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) said yesterday while announcing an agreement.
The new accord comes as a result of discussions started at the Seatrade Europe Forum in Hamburg, Germany in 2015 and continued until March this year in Fort Lauderdale, US.
The pact puts Qatar on track to achieve its target of 250,000 visitors on board cruise ships in 2019.
The Qatar Ports Management Company, Mwani Qatar, has confirmed the berthing schedule for the cruise ships. The Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 identifies the cruise industry as a focus area in coming years.
QTA is working closely with Mwani Qatar to expand various elements of the country’s cruise industry, in particular, Doha Port, which will be undergoing redevelopment in the coming months to transform it into a full-time cruise terminal and tourist attraction.
“The cruise tourism sector in Qatar provides huge opportunities for the growth of the country’s overall tourism industry and is central to the realisation of the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030,” chief tourism development officer Hassan al-Ibrahim said.
“The commitment of TUI Cruises to include Qatar in its 2017/2018 itineraries is testament to the significant development that the sector is undergoing, and gives us an encouraging boost as we continue to pursue other major cruise liners,” he explained.
“Qatar is set to receive between 35 and 40 ships in the upcoming 2016/2017 cruise season, bringing in an expected 55,000 passengers,” the official pointed out.
“This provides new and untapped investment opportunities for businesses to develop tourism products and services that cater to cruise visitors.”
TUI Cruises has planned for its Mein Schiff 5 ship to dock in Qatar. The ship is around 294 metres long, has 15 decks and the capacity to carry up to 2,506 passengers on two persons per cabin basis.
The Mein Schiff 5 is known for being an energy-efficient ship, consuming around 30% less energy than comparable cruise liners.
It is equipped with a modern exhaust cleaning system, which makes it one of the most environmental-friendly cruise ships worldwide.
“Qatar is a very fascinating destination for TUI Cruises. We are very happy about the development of the harbour which makes it possible to call Qatar in the future,” TUI Cruises CEO Wybcke Meier said.
“With its vibrant mix of modernity and history, Qatar has a lot to experience for our guests. We are looking forward to having a close collaboration with QTA,” he added.
The GCC is among the top three cruise destinations worldwide during the winter months, offering tremendous opportunity for Qatar’s tourism sector and overall economy.
TUI Cruises is a joint venture between TUI AG and the global cruise shipping line Royal Caribbean Cruises. The company, founded in April 2008 and headquartered in Hamburg, has been offering cruises for the German-speaking market since May 2009.
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