(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Sharjah is looking forward to a new and exciting season of international luxury cruises as the first of major cruiseliners, the Costa NeoRomantica, docked at the Khor Fakkan port on the East Coast with 927 passengers onboard.
The second one, another Costa NeoRomantica ship, will be arriving on Friday.
A total number of 40 international luxury cruiseliners are scheduled to arrive in the picturesque East Coast during the 2012-13 season, or from now and between April 8, 2013, with approximately 130,000 passengers, registering a nearly 50 per cent increase over last year, said Mohamed Ali Al Noman, chairman of the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, or SCTDA.
Last year, the Khor Fakkan port had hosted 23 luxury cruiseliners with more than 67,000 passengers on board.
International cruiseliners to visit Sharjah this season include Costa NeoRomantica, Costa Classica, Costa Atlantica, Costa Seabourn Odyssey and Costa Seabourn Pride.
Al Noman welcomed the growing international luxury tourist interest in Sharjah which has been attracting an increasing number of European and Western tourists in recent years.
"Europe is our largest feeding market as far as tourism is concerned. This is why such visits by international cruiseliners, especially to the East Coast where the government of Sharjah has been making constant efforts to attract local and international travellers and investors, are to be only welcomed," he said.
He said that the emirate's leadership is keen to exploit the immense potential of the East Coast and the SCTDA is working with the tourism industry and other players on this front.
Al Noman said that the Sharjah government is keen to develop tourism and hospitality infrastructure on the East Coast.