In pictures: Sheikh Mohammed visits mega Italian cruise ship

The MSC Splendida is docked at Port Rashid in Dubai



UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum visited the Italian cruise ship MSC Splendida at Port Rashid in Dubai on Saturday.

He was welcomed by ship’s captain and briefed on the various facilities the gigantic cruise ship offers, a statement said.

The ship, which has a passenger capacity of over 3,950, has more than 1,300 staff members.

Sheikh Mohammed highlighted the “openness of the UAE as a friendly tourist destination” and added that creating the right environment is “essential to sustain economic growth and open new horizons of cultural exchange between nations”.

Dubai is aggressively looking to boost its cruise tourism sector.

Late last year, Dubai Tourism officials revealed that the emirate expects the number of cruise tourists to touch one million by 2020.

The number of cruise tourists were anticipated to have reached 725,000 in 2018 – up 13 per cent year-on-year, with the figure slated to rise further to 825,000 in 2019.

To encourage more cruise liners to pass through Dubai, the emirate has also started issuing six-month multiple entry visas for cruise ships crew members.

Dubai’s Hamdan Bin Mohammed Cruise Terminal received over 2.3 million tourists since its inauguration in 2014 up to the end of 2018, it was revealed earlier this month.

Also read: Meraas plans to build second cruise terminal at Dubai Harbour project