Wave of investment sweeps through the Middle East cruise sector

CRUISING in the Middle East is bouncing back from the aftermath of the global financial crisis and Arab Spring as the region invests in cruise infrastructure and eases visa regulations.

According to a press release, the Mina Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi will be redeveloped to create a dedicated cruise terminal, while Dubai is upgrading Port Rashid to accommodate seven vessels simultaneously. Bahrain has restarted work on mixed-use projects on the Muharraq coastal site and King Fasial Corniche seafront.

Oman has planned a new 100-berth marina project as part of the Jebel Sifah development, and phase one of the Marsa Zayed project in Aqaba, Jordan, will be completed in 2015.

On visas, the Gulf Cooperation Council has introduced visas on arrival while the UAE is considering a new multiple-entry cruise visa.

Said Rahil Zaman, contracting and reservation manager, Dubai-based Joher Travels & Tourism: “Tailor-made cruises are trending at the moment and growth in that segment is expected to rise, creating potential new partnerships between cruise companies and local customised tour operators.”

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