Bahrain’s tourism sector on the rebound

AIDA-stella, luxury cruise ship arrives at Khalifa Bin Salman Port carrying over 1,800 passengers

MANAMA: Bahrain’s Khalifa Bin Salman Port is set to welcome 54 cruise ships with an estimated 100,000 passengers this season, thanks to the Government’s efforts to bolster inbound tourism.

Khalifa Bin Salman Port (KBSP), operated by APM Terminals Bahrain has embarked on the 2017-2018 Cruise Season with the arrival of luxury cruise ship AIDA-stella at the port in November 2017. Bahrain, known for its rich and vibrant cultural heritage and a popular destination for cruise ships, is expected to receive 54 cruise vessel calls from prestigious lines during this season with an estimated 100,000 passengers. This is an impressive 30% growth over the past year in terms of vessel calls and 23% in terms of the number of passengers.

The current season, which commenced in November 2017 and will be on until May 2018, will see arrival of three maiden calls including Mein Schiff 5, Minerva and Crystal Serenity, and approximately 2 cruise calls every week. MSC Splendida with 4360 passenger capacity will be the biggest to call this season. This season we will also have unique weeks where 2 cruise ships docking at the same time.

“We are working closely with the Ports and Maritime Authority, Tourism Authority, Customs and Immigration departments to ensure smooth handling of passengers. Our focus is on ensuring a good arrival and departure experience to the passengers by giving the terminal a new look and feel including complementary Wi-fi during their stay at the passenger terminal,” Mark Hardiman, CEO/Managing Director of APM Terminals Bahrain said.

“We are looking forward to this year’s cruise season, which we believe will add positively to the tourism and economical sector and is expected to be better than previous seasons with increased number of cruise vessels calling at KBSP. We appreciate the joint efforts from all governmental entities and APMT Bahrain who are facilitating the passengers journey through Khalifa Bin Salman port,” Assistant Undersecretary for Ports and Maritime Navigation Affairs, Bader Houd Al Mahmoud, said.

Passengers, on arrival, are welcomed by a traditional Bahraini hospitality organized by the Tourism Authority. All the cruise liners organize scheduled city-tour of Bahrain include traditional hospitality and cultural experience for passengers including Bahraini band and music as well as visit to historic sites, the bustling alleyways of local songs and other key landmarks.

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