This post was originally published on 23 October 2019.
A new cruise passenger terminal was inaugurated yesterday at Doha Port, just as thousands of passengers disembarked from the megaship Mein Schiff 5, ushering in Qatar’s fourth and largest cruise tourism season.
Spread over 6000 square meters, the new facility will act as a temporary terminal for the next two seasons until the completion of Doha Port’s expansion plan, due in 2022.
Cruise passengers transiting through Doha Port’s new temporary terminal will experience the same level of services and facilities as HIA, including seamless immigration and customs, foreign exchange, taxi and bus stands, Duty Free Shops, café, waiting areas for cruise passengers and staff, as well as city tours and other tourist information services.
Mein Schiff 5 is the first of 74 ships expected this season which equates to a 66% increase in the number of ships from last season.
HE Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti explained that the opening of the new temporary terminal in Doha Port will support the country’s strategy to develop cruise tourism, adding: “Doha Port is playing a key role in reinforcing Qatars position as an attractive tourist destination through securing and receiving international cruise ships, as well as providing all the facilities necessary for the growth of a sector that is considered a key contributor to the economic diversity pursued by Qatar National Vision 2030.”
HE the Minister added that Doha Port continues to receive ships even as it undergoes to a comprehensive development process that will see it become a unique and all-inclusive cruise tourism hub, highlighting that the Ministry of Transport and Communications has completed the dredging and digging works that significantly increased the port’s berthing capacity.
The 2018/19 season achieved 121% growth in the number of cruise passengers and 100% increase in the number of cruise ships, with more than 140,000 passengers arriving aboard 44 ships. These include 38 mega ships, which usually carry between 3,000 and 4,000 passengers and crew.
QNTC noted that the previous season also recorded a significant increase in the number of German (144%), Italian (93%) and British (22.5%) tourists arriving aboard cruise ships compared to the 2017/18 season.
It also included Russian tourists, whose numbers grew substantially by 257% in Qatar as a cruise destination compared to the previous season, making them the fourth largest nationality. Americans and Mexicans made it to the top 10 nationalities aboard these cruise ships.