Abu Dhabi will reopen its ports to cruise liners on September 1, after months of shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT Abu Dhabi) announced.
Prior to the outbreak of the virus, Abu Dhabi’s maritime tourism had a record-breaking year. In 2019, almost 500,000 cruise passengers visited the UAE capital, up 46 percent from the previous year.
Ms. Noura Rashed Al Dhaheri, the managing director of cruise business for Abu Dhabi Ports, said passengers would need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to be allowed to visit the emirate.
“This measure is part of the UAE capital’s leading efforts to revive the tourism sector following the excellent results we’ve made in combating the pandemic, and yet another step towards boosting the UAE capital’s status as a world-class hub for maritime tourism,” said Mr. Ali Al Shaiba, executive director at DCT.
During 2020, cruise ships were identified as coronavirus transmission hotspots, and passengers on several liners were forced to quarantine on board and offshore, because of the number of cases aboard.
Zayed Port and Sir Bani Yas Island in Abu Dhabi are famous stops for cruise ships from around the world. In February 2020, a new waterfront attraction, Marsa Mina, opened near the Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal in Mina Zayed, with retail units and restaurants for newly arrived tourists.
According to the department, a series of activities will be implemented throughout the year to enable a seamless return of the tourism industry, including participation in international events to showcase Abu Dhabi to global cruisers.
Recently, Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC) had launched “Tourism 365” to support in creating experiential travel opportunities for tourists coming to Abu Dhabi and enhance the emirate’s regional and global positioning in the wider tourism sector.