ADPC has announced the next steps in its plans to support the growing cruise business at Zayed Port, Abu Dhabi.
Figures for 2012/2013 show a total of 96 vessel calls and 155,000 passengers visited Zayed Port, Abu Dhabi last season.
Zayed Port’s convenient central location makes it attractive to tour operators, as it offers easy access to Abu Dhabi’s expanding leisure experience and growing range of luxury hotels and resorts.
Increasing the cruise business to the city is one of Abu Dhabi’s main tourism-related targets and Zayed Port has more capacity now that all container traffic is handled through Khalifa Port. However, the existing cruise liner facilities at Zayed Port offer little room to handle the projected growth.
To address this, ADPC has allocated the south-eastern end of the port berth, the end closest to Sheikh Khalifa Bridge, as an area to be developed specifically for cruise liners and passengers. The new space will offer an immediate increase in capacity for the forthcoming season and space for further expansion in the future.
The main focus for the new development will be a permanent state-of-the-art terminal building and a traditionally themed souq and heritage area, with activities to entertain both passengers and the general public.
The exact design and plan for the terminal building is under discussion as it has the potential to be another iconic symbol for Abu Dhabi. In the interim a new temporary terminal facility is planned for the next season, which although temporary – will still enhance the cruise passenger experience.
Moving the cruise ship berthing area to the new location will also allow for the opening of a new gate for passengers – a dedicated Cruise Port Gate which will be accessed from underneath Sheikh Khalifa Bridge – allowing easy access to the growing tourism destinations on both Saadiyat and Yas Islands.
Overseeing and managing the new development, ADPC has determined that the cruise liner terminal project will be divided into several phases.
Phase 1 will be completed for the start of this season (October 2013), offering accommodation for two large cruise ships and one small vessel. The following phases will be developed as appropriate according to market potential and demand.
Commenting on the newly released proposals Mohamed Al Shamisi, Acting CEO, ADPC said:
“For more than 40 years, Zayed Port was the major lifeline for Abu Dhabi’s import/export trade, making it a vital port in the region.
Now that all container traffic has shifted to Khalifa Port, the first semi-automated facility in the Middle East, we are looking forward to maximizing Zayed Port’s capacity, allowing us to focus on a growing cruise line business and reinforcing Abu Dhabi’s position as a world class tourist destination.”
Sultan Al Dhaheri, Director Tourism Eco-Systems, TCA Abu Dhabi adds:
“These cruise terminal improvements will deliver a lasting first impression for disembarking passengers and will be a strong visual statement of our commitment to a sector which offers great growth potential. Long term, we believe the diversified shore excursions of the emerging Saadiyat Island Cultural District and our UNESCO World Heritage sites in Al Ain will set us apart in a competitive regional market. With our hosting of the Seatrade Middle East Forum in December, we can – with our stakeholders – demonstrate we have the facilities and range of passenger options required to encourage the world’s leading cruise lines to consider Abu Dhabi as a seasonal home-port destination, and add Zayed Port to their itineraries as a regular port of call.”