The Cruise Ship Seaborne Encore reached Doha Port with more than 500 passengers on board to kick start the 2017-18 Cruise season.
Qatar Ports Management Company (MWANI Qatar) tweeted along with the video of the ship docking at the port. It is the first of the expected 21 throughout the season, which continues until 2018.
Five new ships will be making their first calls to Qatar, and for the first time there will be 2 megaships.
— MWANI Qatar (@MwaniQtr) October 26, 2017
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. With 13 passenger decks and 66 meters high it will be the largest ship to enter Doha Port.
The mega ship carries between 2500 and 6000 passengers, more than three times the capacity of a standard Cruise ship.
Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA said, “It continues to be an exciting time of rapid growth for Qatar’s cruise tourism sector, which will witness more firsts this season. 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 planning to bring the latest technologies to Qatar and discussion are already on with major European cruise liners, including the redevelopment of Doha Port into a permanent cruise terminal and tourist hub, which is currently underway.
QTA is also working with the local and international partners to develop the cruise terminal facilities, infrastructure and operations needed to achieve sustainable growth.
Once all developments are completed, projections show that the cruise industry has the potential to generate over 500,000 passengers and QR350m per annum by 2026.