(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) Oman along with regional cruise industry players Dubai and Abu Dhabi are in talks to form a single entity to promote the region as a leading cruise destination.
At the recently concluded three-day Seatrade Middle East Cruise Forum' held in Abu Dhabi from December 9 to 11, cruise line executives, regional ministers, tourism and port officials and destination management companies, vouched for a joint tourism strategy to take cruise tourism to the next level in the GCC.
The delegates were unanimous about the benefits of the move to unify destination promotion of the Arabian Gulf through collaboration between ports, tourism bodies and the private sector.
Grant Holmes, CEO, Progress International FZC, speaking on the plans for a regional cruise alliance at the forum said that it could include a single point of contact, standardised incentives and support for itinerary planning, as well as a unified presence at major cruise events.
''Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman are in the process of formalising a memorandum of understanding, and then the aim is to invite regional partners to join in,'' he said.
Salim al Mamary, director general for tourism development at the Ministry of Tourism, Oman, said that collaboration was a priority to target the GCC market and go beyond the region to reach international markets
''In order to accomplish this, a joint strategy is a must,'' he was quoted by Seatrade Insider, the company that organised the forum.
Encouraging the move, Rob Roberts, manager, shore excursions, Princess Cruises, said more marketing of the region in the US would be a lot more beneficial where travellers were not well acquainted with the region than those from Europe and who wanted to explore more about the Arabian experience and its culture.
Darius Mehta, vice president, air and land programmes, Silversea Cruises also endorsed the proposal, adding that such an alliance would allow each destination to compare their products and enable more differentiation.
''It will help bring awareness of the area as a cruise destination,'' he said.
Hamad bin Mejren, executive director of business tourism at the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, said, ''We know cruising specifically requires joint marketing, and we will be advertising to the GCC consumer on television and in the media, as well as targeting key markets such as India, China, Russia, South America and South Afri