German mega ship AIDAPrima makes maiden voyage to Doha.

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 measures 300 metres in length and has a capacity of 4,250 passengers and crew.

The arrival of AIDAPrima follows on an 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’s shores between December 2018 and April 2019. The two entities are also cooperating to build attractive packages and special services dedicated to AIDA Cruises’ guests, in addition to joint communications, co-marketing activities and familiarisation trips. 

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 to its mostly German clientele. This makes it an ideal partner for NTC which places the German-speaking market among its priority markets as it pursues its goals for 2023. In 2015, NTC opened a representative office in Germany, and has since regularly organised numerous campaigns to raise awareness among travelers and tour operators about Qatar’s unique tourism offering in German-speaking markets.

Rashed Al Qurese from NTC commented, “We are pleased to have one of the most established cruise lines operating in the Arabian Gulf add Qatar to its itinerary. In addition to attracting more mega ships to Qatar, our collaboration with AIDA Cruises is helping expedite the development of the cruise industry in Qatar through joint promotion efforts, and so we are pleased today to welcome a cruise ship and a partner to Qatar’s shores.”

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.

Dr. Saleh Fetais al-Marri, General Supervisor of Maritime Transport Affairs at MOTC commented, “The major redevelopment projects underway at Doha Port pave the way for it to become one of the leading cruise tourism ports in the region and help position Doha as an attractive cruise tourism destination.” He added, “The Ministry supports the government’s steps to improve the country’s ranking as an attractive tourism destination as a key pillar for achieving economic diversification in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.”

Hamad Ali Al Ansari, Manager of Public Relations and Communication at  Mwani Qatar added, “The arrival of AIDAPrima at Doha Port today is testament to the confidence that the Port has gained among the world’s cruise ship operators.” He added, “Doha Port has an important role to play in promoting tourism in Qatar and remains committed to collaborating with various stakeholders to provide visitors with the best services that meet their needs efficiently, in accordance with the MOTC’s plans.”

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, especially thanks to a 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 is made possible thanks to close coordination between NTC, Mwani Qatar, Ministry of Interior, Qatar Customs Authority, Mowasalat and Destination Management Companies, allowing passengers to leave the port swiftly and begin enjoying curated experiences around Doha.  

Credit: Press Release.

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