Officials of the National Tourism Council (NTC) and Mwani Qatar welcomed the German mega ship AIDAPrima on its maiden voyage to Doha Port, Qatar’s gateway for cruise tourists. The largest of AIDA Cruises’ fleet, the mega ship has a capacity of 4,250 passengers and crew.
The arrival of AIDAPrima follows the agreement signed between NTC and AIDA Cruises earlier this year, on the sidelines of the Qatar-Germany Business and Investment Forum. According to the agreement, the mega ship is due to arrive in Qatar eight times this season, bringing about 26,000 passengers to Qatar shores between December 2018 and April 2019. The two entities are also cooperating to build attractive packages and special services dedicated to guests of AIDA Cruises, in addition to joint communications, co-marketing activities and familiarisation trips.
Qatar’s Cruise Tourism
AIDA Cruises is among the first cruise lines in the world to offer cruises around the Arabian Gulf. Since 2006 it has been offering week-long winter cruises around the region mostly to German clientele. This makes it an ideal partner for NTC which places the German-speaking market among its priority markets. In 2015, NTC opened a representative office in Germany, and has since regularly organised numerous campaigns to raise awareness among travellers and tour operators about Qatar’s unique tourism offering in German-speaking markets.
Rashed Al Qurese from NTC said that in addition to attracting more mega ships to Qatar, their collaboration with AIDA Cruises is helping expedite the development of the cruise industry in Qatar through joint promotion efforts.
The Ministry of Transport and Communication (MOTC) is currently working on dredging and expanding its watercourse as part of a development project that aims to boost Doha Port’s capacity to accommodate larger cruise ships.
The partnership with AIDA Cruises is the second successful collaboration with a German cruise line, coming after the collaboration with TUI Cruises, which brought its mega ship Mein Schiff 5 eight times to Doha last season. At 40%, Germans formed the majority of cruise passengers disembarking in Doha in the 2017/18 season.
Qatar’s cruise industry is set for further growth in the coming years, with projections showing the arrival of 200,000 passengers by 2020, thanks to the port expansion that now allows Doha Port to welcome two mega ships at the same time. The first such simultaneous docking took place last week, and Doha Port is expected to receive more than one mega ship four more times throughout this season.
The smooth docking and disembarking in Doha Port is made possible by NTC, Mwani Qatar, Ministry of Interior, Qatar Customs Authority, Mowasalat and Destination Management Companies.