Costa Cruises - the first cruise line to launch regular cruising in the Middle East back in 2006 and still the company with the highest capacity during the 2013/2014 season - has confirmed it is joining 9 other leading cruise lines for the Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum in Abu Dhabi.
Along with cruise line executives from Azamara Club Cruises; Crystal Cruises Inc; Carnival UK; Holland America Line; Princess Cruises; Royal Caribbean International; Silversea Cruises; TUI Cruises GmbH and The World, Dario Rustico, Director of Sales & Marketing, Central Europe, Africa, Middle East and India, Costa Cruises, will spend several days in the UAE capital discussing the development of cruising in the Middle East amongst other key regional issues.
Costa's Dario Rustico said: "The UAE and region is a firm fixture in our winter deployment and we are planning to invest more to develop the local source market. For the 2013/2014 season, we will deploy two ships in the region – the Costa Fortuna with a capacity for 3,470 passengers and the Costa NeoRiviera which has a capacity for 1,727 passengers - offering cruises calling at Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and Khasab.
"The two ships will make a total of 27 cruises in the region and next year we will deploy a larger ship, the Costa Serena, which has a capacity for 3,780 passengers for another 17 cruises".
The 3-day Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum takes place at the five-star Rosewood Abu Dhabi, Al Maryah Island from 9-11th December 2013 and is organised by Seatrade, with the support of Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) and its Abu Dhabi Convention Bureau.
"The calibre of attending cruise line executives provides us, our regional counterparts and stakeholders, with essential face-to-face time with the decision-makers at the sharp end of the cruise industry so we can hear their concerns first-hand, together identify opportunities and forge stronger working relationships. This approach is in line with our strategy of involving stakeholders in the development of our ambitions and we view attendance as a vital investment for the region in realising its cruise ambitions," said Sultan Al Dhaheri, Director Tourism Eco-Systems, TCA Abu Dhabi.
Delegates will hear from the cruise line operators and other global experts as they discuss the region's cruise challenges and opportunities.
The event launches with a Summit attended by regional ministers, tourism leaders, port and immigration officials which will then be followed by a full day conference programme which is open to anyone with a vested interest in the cruise industry.
The Forum will also include a workshop where each of the hosted cruise line executives will have one-on-one appointments with officials from participating destinations. Networking opportunities include a welcome reception and gala dinner which will be attended by all delegates and summit participants.
"For cruising to move forward in the region, some key areas have to be addressed," added Chris Hayman. "This Forum is to discuss these issues and make decisions to enable a new chapter in Middle East cruising to begin."
Full details are available on the event website - ( seatrade-middleeastcruise.com )
ABOUT ABU DHABI TOURISM & CULTURE AUTHORITY
Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority conserves and promotes the heritage and culture of Abu Dhabi emirate and leverages them in the development of a world-class, sustainable destination of distinction which enriches the lives of visitors and residents alike. The authority manages the emirate's tourism sector and markets the destination internationally through a wide range of activities aimed at attracting visitors and investment. Its policies, plans and programmes relate to the preservation of heritage and culture, including protecting archaeological and historical sites and to developing museums, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. The authority supports intellectual and artistic activities and cultural events to nurture a rich cultural environment and honour the emirate's heritage. A key authority role is to create synergy in the destination's development through close co-ordination with its wide-ranging stakeholder base.
Established 40 years ago, Seatrade is a leader in cruise and maritime publications, conferences and exhibitions, training, awards and other special projects. Regular events include international trade exhibitions and conferences across all maritime sectors, management training courses for shipping professionals, training seminars for travel agents and award schemes, including the Seatrade Insider Cruise Awards. Seatrade publications include magazines, supplements and yearbooks, whilst Seatrade Insider provides daily cruise news online at seatrade-insider.com.