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Dubai Boosts Cruise Industry Appeal With Visa Reforms

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

31 May 2012

The head of Business Tourism at Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Hamad bin Mejren, has announced that proposals to grant cruise passengers multiple entry visas will be in place from September, after three years of consideration.

The plans will provide citizens from 32 countries not entitled to visa-free entry with reduced visa application fees and simplified administrative procedures. The proposals are part of efforts to increase Dubai's appeal as the region's leading cruise destination ahead of the new season beginning in October 2012.

According to a statement from the Department, the measure would seek to do away with “the current visa [processes which] impose a financial burden as well as a lot of documentation procedures on tourists of nationalities not on the list of countries who receive visas on arrival".

"Accomplishment of such a visa will be a great support to the cruise lines in selling their holiday cruise packages in the region and consequently the United Arab Emirates will benefit," the Department said.

Each year Dubai plays host to more than 20 world-class cruise lines, including leading industry players Costa Cruises and Royal Caribbean International.

Dubai Cruise Terminals, managed and operated by the DTCM for the government of Dubai, catered for 396,500 cruise tourists aboard 108 cruise ships in 2011. The government has targetted growth of around 35% in the number of cruise ships calling at Dubai by 2015.

Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, has the most modern and the largest cruise facility among Gulf Cooperation Council nations, spanning over 12,000 square meters with a dedicated pier of 2,000 meters in length, with the capacity to accommodate five to six cruise ships simultaneously.

TAGS: marine

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