The plan for a multiple entry UAE visa for cruise passengers, which has been under discussion for almost three years, is expected to be in place by September, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has said.
“We have re-emphasised the importance of having implemented a multiple entry UAE visa for the cruise tourists to the highest level and it is under way,” Hamad Bin Mejren, DTCM executive director of Business Tourism, said in a statement. “Hopefully, we will have a positive feedback before the next cruise season commencing October 2012,” he said.
The current visa process imposes a financial burden and involves a lot of documentation procedures for the tourists of nationalities who do not get visas on arrival.
The new multiple entry visas system will help resolve these issues and will also bring in tourists from key source markets such as Russia, China, India, South Africa, Brazil and other emerging markets, said Mejren.
Currently, five leading global cruise lines use Dubai as a home port including Costa Cruises, Aida Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, TUI Cruises and FTI Cruises. Another 20 cruise lines also include the city as a port of call in their international itinerary.
Dubai Cruise Terminal, operated by the DTCM, handled 396,500 cruise tourists who arrived on 108 ship calls in 2011, and this year, the DTCM expects 420,000 cruise tourists to visit the emirate.
Numbers are further estimated to go up to 450,000 passengers and 125 cruise ships in 2013, and up to 475,000 passengers and 135 cruise ships in 2014, said the statement.