The first cruise ship of the season is all set to kick off in Qatar when the ‘Seaborne Encore’ docks at Doha Port this week. The ship is due tomorrow with 600 passengers on board, it is the first of the expected 21 in Doha. The season will continue until April 2018.
Five new ships will be making their debut to Qatar and for the first time there will be two megaships making calls into Doha Port.
The German mega ship Mein Schiff 5 and the Italian MSC Splendida are due to make a total of 12 calls to Doha Port. MSC Splendida, carrying 3,900 passengers, has replaced the MSC Fantasia which called last year, as demand for the region continues to grow. The mega ship will carry between 2500 and 6000 passengers.
Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) said that this continues to be an exciting time of rapid growth for Qatar’s cruise tourism sector.
As we embark on the Next Chapter of the National Tourism Sector Strategy, the growing number of visitors arriving at our shores highlights the opportunities for investors to develop authentic and memorable experiences that reinforce Qatar’s position as a hub to discover.’
QTA is trying to bring in the latest developments by discussing with major European cruise liners. The discussions aim to foster more interest in Qatar as a destination, and to increase the number of cruise liners who add Qatar to their itineraries for the following seasons.
It is also working with the local and international partners to plan, develop and manage the cruise terminal facilities, infrastructure and operators needed to meet the growth.
The developments once completed will have the capability to generate over 500,000 passengers and QAR350 million per annum by 2026.