AD Ports Group noted the first quarter of 2023 was particularly strong, with 363,494 visitors and 120 calls registered, up from Q1 2022 which saw 89,953 visitors and 60 calls.
Passenger volumes for Q1 2023 surpassed the number of visitors accommodated for full year 2022 by more than 37%.
Overall, the growth in contrast to the previous season was impressive. Calls increased 41.5% compared to the 2021/22 season and passengers numbers were up almost 300%.
This rise reflects the forecasted rebound of the UAE cruise industry post COVID-19 and the commitment of Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal, which opened in December 2015.
Arabian Gulf hub
Commenting on the achievement, Saif Al Mazrouei, CEO, Ports Cluster, AD Ports Group, said: ‘The increasing number of visitors is a testament to Abu Dhabi’s position as a world class hub for maritime tourism and the trust bestowed on us by our partners in the cruise industry to deploy their latest and largest vessels to the region.
‘Both Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal and Sir Bani Yas Cruise Beach have evolved to offer an incredible and unique cruise experience for all guests, providing them with the opportunity to discover both the extraordinary attractions within Abu Dhabi and the natural beauty of Sir Bani Yas Island.’
Saleh Al Geziry, DG of the tourism sector at the Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi, said: ‘Tourism is a driving force of Abu Dhabi’s economic progress and prosperity, with the growing attractiveness of the emirate to cruise passengers playing a significant role in its success. The solid performance from the 2022-23 season demonstrates the rapid development of this visitor segment and showcases the effectiveness of our robust growth strategy for cruise travel in Abu Dhabi.’
Noura Al Dhaheri, MD, cruise at AD Ports Group, said: ‘The management and operations teams at Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal have worked relentlessly to make us the busiest cruise hub in the region. This achievement would not have been possible without the world-class infrastructure and the constant upgrades to our facilities, the commercial incentives offered, and our operational excellence. All these factors are crucial to attracting larger number of visitors. We remain committed to working closely with cruise lines to position Abu Dhabi as one of the top cruise destinations globally.’