Dubai Cruise Tourism Roadshow concluded its six-city Indian tour in Kolkata today. Aimed at promoting cruising as a new form of holidaying in and exploring both Dubai and the United Arab Emirates region, this event saw participation in high numbers by members of the travel and tourism industry.
Dubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DCTCM) organised its third annual cruise roadshow in India, expanding to 6 cities from the previous year’s 4 city tour. Held at Taj Bengal in the capital of West Bengal, India, the last leg of the tour was held in cooperation with three leading travel and tourism companies specialising in Travel- MSC Cruises, Costa Crociere and Royal Caribbean International (under the Tirun Travel Marketing). The event highlighted the growing market for cruise tourists from India headed towards Dubai and the viability of cruising as a form of travel to the region.
Carl Vaz, Director of Dubai Tourism, India stated “Dubai is the number one outbound destination at the moment from India. And for Dubai, India is the number one source market”. Cruising, right now is regionally concentrated for Indians as most operators offer South East Asia as a destination because most prefer to visit a nearby place. However, offering a solution to bring a change in this pattern, Vaz encouraged the audience to approach cruise- tourism to Dubai as an opportunity to explore the region by sea.
Suresh Babu, Manager of Cruise Tourism, Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing of Dubai informed “The global cruise tourism market in 2015 has been valued at 33.2 Billion USD. There is high potential on expanding this figure”. He added “ As a destination, Dubai is known worldwide for its connectivity and shopping. Special multiple entry visas are also being offered for the tourists who travel by cruise, putting them at an advantage in visiting destinations such as Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and others, most that are part of the itinerary of a cruise travel”.
“It is a myth that cruise- travel is only for the rich. With packages starting from around 100 USD a night, travelers get a four star experience and a chance to explore new parts of the world at a leisurely time, making it value for money” said Kunal Sampat, General Manager for MSC Cruises India.
However, there are many classes and budgets for whom the cruise operators design packages. “Different categories and types of consumers mean a range of services and amenities depending on the type of package opted for. While most amenities are accessible to all, exclusive lounges and rooms are available at a higher price” he added.
Most cruise ship operators are trying to expand their presence in India as well as the services offered onboard a ship, aimed at catering to the specific needs of Indians. Indian food is readily available on cruise ships. Costa Crociere even held a fully vegetarian seven day cruise. Varun Chadha, Chief Operating Officer for TIRUN Travel Marketing stated “We are present all across India, with five offices. It is important to be connected to the consumer base you are aiming to serve. A study conducted by our team revealed that the desire of Indians to travel by cruise is extremely high at more than 60 percent. We are here to help realise this desire”.
The Dubai Cruise Tourism Roadshow brought to centre- stage, the growing market for cruise tourism in India and the potential to bring together Dubai and India closer through this initiative. With investment and interest from both sides, the advancement of cruise tourism to Dubai is a strong possibility.