By Andy Sambidge
Senior official says move will be big boost to Dubai's growing cruise tourism industry
The plan for a multiple entry UAE visa for cruise passengers, which has been under discussion for almost three years, is expected to be in place by September, a senior official said on Sunday.
Hamad bin Mejren, executive director of Business Tourism at of Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), said the move would be a big boost to Dubai's growing cruise tourism industry.
"We have re-emphasised the importance of having implemented a multiple entry UAE visa for the cruise tourists to the highest level and it is underway," he said in a statement.
"Hopefully, we will have a positive feedback before the next cruise season commencing October, 2012," he added.
The current visa process imposes financial burden as well as a lot of documentation procedures for the tourists of 32 nationalities who do not get visas on arrival.
Bin Mejren said the multiple entry visas will help in removing such obstacles and will create a wider marketing perspective to bring tourists from key source markets such as Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil and other emerging markets.
Dubai serves as a home port for five of the world's leading cruise lines such as Costa Cruises, Aida Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, TUI Cruises and FTI Cruises.
In addition, more than 20 world-class cruise lines have Dubai as a port of call in their international itinerary.
Dubai Cruise Terminals, managed and operated by DTCM for the Government of Dubai, catered to 396,500 cruise tourist who arrived from 108 ship calls in 2011.
This year, Dubai is expected to see 420, 000 cruise tourists to the emirate, giving a big push to the tourism growth and the economy.
The projections for 2013 are 125 cruise ships and 450,000 passengers and in 2014 the number of cruise ships and passengers will be 135 and 475,000, respectively.
This sounds a bit like the property owner's visa, Dubai wants it but it is a matter for approval at federal level which is another matter. Also quoting timetables always seems to tempt providence and on every occasion I can remember it has all gone quiet again.
However, it makes sense as the new waves of visitors seem to consist of nationalities, that do not receive a visa on entry, the tourist profile is changing considerably.