Simultaneous docking of mega-ships to happen for first time this season with majority of scheduled calls for the 2018-19 season being mega ships
The annual cruise season 2018-19 has kicked off in Qatar and will continue till April 2019. This year commenced with the Boudicca docking at Doha Port and there are numerous other cruise ships – double the number of the previous year that are expected to arrive through the season. In all, there are a whopping 43 ships scheduled to call in at Doha Port, with 10 ships making their maiden call this annual cruise season.
With the large number of ships the number of tourists is also expected to be remarkable – with a footfall of atleast 140,000 expected. In addition to being the biggest yet, this season will witness a significant first for Qatar: the arrival of two megaships at Doha Port at the same time – an occurrence that is due to happen a total of five times throughout this season.
QTA recently signed an agreement with the German Aida Cruises and the Italian Costa Cruises to place Qatar on the two companies’ winter itineraries as well as to cooperate in designing special promotion packages for their passengers. As part of the agreements, luxury ship AIDAprima and Costa Mediterranea are expected make their maiden trips to Doha Port this season. Between them, the two cruise lines will bring up to a quarter of this season’s passengers to Doha.
QTA and Qatar’s major transport services provider, Mowasalat recently signed an MoU to further develop tourist transport services, ensuring the growth in cruise tourism demand is matched with flexible and reliable transportation. QTA also continues to work with local and international partners to carefully plan, develop and manage the cruise terminal facilities, infrastructure and operations needed to achieve sustainable growth. Qatar is expecting to receive 200,000 cruise visitors by the next 2019-20 season and has plans to turn Doha to a turnaround port.
Hassan Al Ibrahim, Acting Chairman at QTA commented, “It continues to be an exciting period of rapid growth for Qatar’s cruise tourism sector, which will witness more firsts this season. We are pleased to see our local partners join in our efforts to develop services and products specifically for cruise visitors. They are an ideal complement to our partnerships with leading international agencies and we look forward to continue drawing a growing number of visitors to Qatar’s shores to enjoy the country’s pleasant winter weather.” He added, “These developments highlight the opportunities for investors to develop authentic and memorable experiences that reinforce Qatar’s position as a hub to discover.”