MSC Cruises has seen its passenger numbers soar by 40% for Saudi Arabia voyages in a 24-month period, with its ships bringing 124 nationalities to the Kingdom. The top five markets for cruises in the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf were Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the USA.
The statistics have been revealed a day before the United Nations World Tourism Organization World Tourism Day conference (September 27-28) gets underway in Riyadh.
The first major cruise line to operate in Saudi Arabia
Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman, MSC Cruises, explained, ‘We were the first major cruise company in 2021 to operate Red Sea sailings from Jeddah and we are honoured to have played an important role partnering with the key government bodies to stimulate the establishment of the cruise industry in Saudi Arabia. This is thanks to the support and partnership with the Saudi Government and the country’s Tourism Minister His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, for which we are grateful.’
Vago said that MSC Cruises is ‘committed to continuing to build on this success and bringing even more cruise passengers to discover the beauties, wonders and local hospitality that this incredible country has to offer.’
Nearly 250,000 MSC Cruises passengers have sailed to and from Saudi Arabia since 2021.
Gearing up for its third season in the Kingdom
MSC Cruises is set to sail into Saudi Arabia from November, when it begins its third season of Red Sea voyages from Jeddah with a new itinerary. Between November 2023 and April 2024, MSC Orchestra will operate 20 separate seven-night cruises round trip from Jeddah, calling at Aqaba, Jordan for Petra, and in Egypt, Sharm El-Sheikh, Sokhna Port for Cairo and Safaga for Luxor.