THE LEVANT – The design of the new cruise terminal at Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi will celebrate the UAE’s cultural heritage.
Unveiled at the cruise event Seatrade Med 2014 in Barcelona, the terminal will feature traditional arabic ornaments, colours and shapes combined with modern architecture, with a lattice-work roof taking the UAE’s national tree – the Ghaf – as inspiration.
Ground clearance work has started and completion is set to come in 2016.
The new building, which covers 8,000 square metres, will house all of the key passenger facilities together with souvenir shops, restaurants and office facilities on a mezzanine level.
“It is a statement of just how serious Abu Dhabi is about cruise tourism,” said Sultan Al Dhaheri, the acting executive director tourism, TCA Abu Dhabi.
“For our part we are stepping up promotion of this particular industry sector with the imminent launch of a dedicated cruise tourism section on our visitabudhabi.ae online destination resource and the creation of highly differentiated shore excursions which lift the value of the Arabian Gulf cruise proposition with Abu Dhabi as both a home port and port-of-call.”
Abu Dhabi Ports Company (ADPC) said in a statement that cruise passenger arrivals have increased five-fold since the sector began in the emirate in 2007, with anticipated arrivals this season reaching 200,000 passengers from 95 vessel calls.
In 2013/2014 Zayed Port welcomed 75 cruise vessel calls with 189,000 passengers, according to ADPC.
The sector is expected to receive a boost from a new UAE rule that gives multiple-entry visas to cruise passengers. The rule took effect from August 1 with the visa costing Dh200.
Elsewhere at Port Zayed, construction work is due to restart next month on the stalled Dh980 million Meena Plaza property development which consists of four high-rise towers. The project was started at the end of 2007 but stalled in 2012.