A delegation from the Ministry of Tourism Oman, Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority and Dubai's Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing kick-started the six day tour in Jeddah on Monday before moving on to Riyadh, Khobar and Kuwait.
The Cruise Arabia partners showcased the diversity of the region - including its city skylines, desert landscapes and beaches; shopping malls and traditional souks; natural wilderness and adventure experiences; and its art, culture and heritage.
‘Following significant investment in infrastructure for cruise tourism across the region, the Middle East is increasingly recognized as a key growth market for the industry and by working closely with our partners from Oman and Abu Dhabi, we can contribute to this growth,’ said Hamad Bin Mijrin, executive director of DTCM.
‘The coalition aims to play a major role in developing regional itineraries and facilities,’ he added.
Bin Mijrin noted that whilst awareness has definitely grown among GCC tourists, he estimated only 5% of cruise passengers calling in Dubai are Arabs.
He pointed to the new multi-entry UAE visa, announced earlier this year, will make it easier for ex-pat families living in the region, as well as overseas visitors, to cruise in the Arabian Gulf.
Khalid Al-Zadjali, director of tourism events in Oman, said: ‘It is a key aim of our partnership to encourage tourists to cruise in the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, not only from the traditional markets in Europe and North America but also from emerging ones in China and India.’
Roadshows further afield are planned by Cruise Arabia.