Abu Dhabi reveals plan to grow cruise tourism market

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Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) on Sunday announced plans to redevelop part of Zayed Port in a bid to increase cruise ship tourism in the emirate.

The master developer and manager of commercial and community ports, and the Khalifa Industrial Zone Abu Dhabi (Kizad) said it aims to build on figures which showed a total of 96 vessel calls and 155,000 passengers visited Zayed Port last season.

The main focus for the new development will be a permanent terminal building and a traditionally themed souk and heritage area, with activities to entertain both passengers and the general public.

The exact design and plan for the terminal building is under discussion and a new temporary facility will be built for next season, the company said in a statement.

Increasing the cruise business to the city is one of Abu Dhabi's main tourism-related targets and Zayed Port has more capacity now that all container traffic is handled through Khalifa Port, the statement said.

ADPC said it has allocated the south-eastern end of the port berth, the end closest to Sheikh Khalifa Bridge, as an area to be developed specifically for cruise liners and passengers.

"The new space will offer an immediate increase in capacity for the forthcoming season and space for further expansion in the future," the statement added.

ADPC said the cruise liner terminal project will be divided into several phases with phase 1 completed for the start of this season (October).

The first phase will accommodate two large cruise ships and one small vessel. The following phases will be developed according to market potential and demand, the company said.

Mohamed Al Shamisi, acting CEO, ADPC said: "For more than 40 years, Zayed Port was the major lifeline for Abu Dhabi's import/export trade, making it a vital port in the region.

"Now that all container traffic has shifted to Khalifa Port, the first semi-automated facility in the Middle East, we are looking forward to maximizing Zayed Port's capacity, allowing us to focus on a growing cruise line business and reinforcing Abu Dhabi's position as a world class tourist destination."

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