● Stakeholders and officials optimistic industry will return to normal this Fall
● Health and safety protocols for cruise tourism sector to be ready soon
P&O Marinas, a DP World Company and the world-class developer for marinas, held a virtual workshop, in collaboration with Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism) and Emirates Airline, to discuss the resumption of the cruise season 2020/2021 in Dubai. The company invited leading shipping agents and stakeholders to take part in the event. The webinar heard that Dubai is “open for business and looking forward to receiving tourists for the new cruise season by the fall.” A draft safety protocol for the cruise industry is in the pipeline and will be shared soon, the event heard.
Chaired by H.E Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai Tourism, and Mohammed Al Mannaei, CEO, P&O Marinas and Executive Director, Mina Rashid, the event kicked off with a general discussion of the state of the tourism industry in Dubai and the fact that strict safety protocols are now in place at every hotel and all other tourism touchpoints across the city. Dubai has assured global travellers that comprehensive safety measures have been put in place to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. With the reopening of many public and private facilities, amenities and attractions, Dubai recently launched the DUBAI ASSURED stamp, a compliance programme – which is also applicable to the cruise industry – to certify and recognise hotels, tourism and retail establishments and attractions that have implemented all public health protocols for the prevention and management of the pandemic. Dubai has also been awarded the Safe Travels safety stamp by the World Travel & Tourism Council, further enhancing its position as one of the world’s safest destinations.
H.E Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of Dubai Tourism, commented: “We have been working with various cruise liners and relevant authorities to ensure that we are all aligned with the efforts being made under the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai to restart the economy with great emphasis on establishing detailed health and safety guidelines for each sector. The precautionary measures and safety protocols that are being formulated for cruise tourism will be implemented when cruise ships arrive in Dubai during the forthcoming season. We can assure cruise tourists of the highest global safety standards at every stage of their travel journey from the time they disembark in Dubai to the point they depart from our cruise terminals.”
Almarri added: “The cruise sector in Dubai has always shown great potential and the sustainable year-on-year growth that we have achieved is due to the continued support of our partners such as DP World, GDRFA and Emirates. Since the reopening of the city to tourists on 7 July, we are encouraged by the response and continue to welcome visitors to the city. We expect to see cruise ships bringing tourists back to Dubai once all the relevant protocols are in place. Dubai Tourism has also put together an impressive excursion itinerary as part of efforts to position the city as the cruise tourism destination of choice for international cruise travellers.”
Mohammed Al Mannaei, CEO, P&O Marinas and Executive Director, Mina Rashid clarified: “We will always prioritise the health and safety of all our citizens and guests; inspired by the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, since all the implemented resolute measures emphasise his statement “Our people are our most valuable asset”. The cruise sector is the fastest growing sector in the travel industry, so we know consumers want to see it back in action as quickly as possible. We were pleased to see the high number of participants in this virtual event and it is reassuring to know we are all coming together to ensure the cruise ship industry returns to normality as quickly as possible. We are also looking forward to seeing our landmark Mina Rashid Marina welcome cruise ships again. We have been monitoring the situation closely and feel confident we can assure customer safety. Our long-standing relationship with shipping lines and our mutually beneficial relationship with stakeholders around the world have held us in good stead as we identify appropriate solutions to ensure tourism flows and business continuity in Dubai.”
Backing cruise liner business
Adnan Kazim, Chief Commercial Officer at Emirates Airline said: “A far as Emirates Airline is concerned we are fully committed to backing the cruise liner business and the Dubai strategy. We are ramping up our weekly services and regarding Europe, where the cruise business mainly comes from, we serve 24 destinations, this will be ramped up to 26 in September and we are considering opening more gateways in the near future. In terms of safety and health on board we have taken all required measures. The message is that we are back proficiently to business.”
The workshop ended with a Q & A session that provided additional information to participants on cruise tourism and health and safety measures that will be adopted for this sector.
The workshop was also attended by senior executives, representatives of shipping agents and cruise lines, including: Carnival Cruise Lines, MSC Cruise Lines, Tui Cruise Lines, Aida Cruises and Costa Cruises , who affirmed that Dubai has grown to be a major cruise destination and a stop-off point for many others. Following all the precautions to guard against the further spread of COVID-19, they were closely monitoring the situation to be able to react quickly to any arising challenges to minimise any risk and are also putting extra procedures in place for their clients’ protection and well-being. The DUBAI ASSURED stamp is just one great example of the Emirate’s commitment to return the travel and tourism industry to normality as quickly as possible. In return, they applaud Dubai’s actions and hope other cities and countries will follow suit.
P&O Marinas announced the seamless conclusion of the cruise season in April in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, with all customers returned safely to their home countries. This emphasised Dubai’s leading role in the maritime sector and its global efficiency in receiving 13 giant cruise ships.