22 Sep 2016 09:30
The announcement was made at the Seatrade Cruise Med conference, being held between 21 and 23 September at the International Trade Fair and Congress Centre in Tenerife. The new cruise destination for Abu Dhabi will open by 5 December 2016, when Costa Cruises and MSC Cruises return to the Arabian Gulf.
Hala Abu Dhabi, the
destination management company of the Etihad Aviation Group (EAG), has been
selected as the exclusive shore excursions and activities provider for Sir Bani
Yas Island and Beach Oasis, the latest cruise destination stop in the UAE for
the 2016/2017 season.
Acting Chief Executive Officer of Hala Group, said: “We’re delighted to have been selected for this exciting development.
Sir Bani Yas Island will be one of the best new locations to enter the cruise market
offering customised add-ons including flights, visa processing, accommodation,
in-house operated tours and safaris alongside multi-lingual tour guides, Hala
is able to provide a one-stop-shop solution to cruise operators in the Gulf.”
Hala played a central
role in the opening of the new Cruise Terminal at Zayed Port in Abu Dhabi in
December 2015, working closely with MSC Cruises on a special ‘Fly-Cruise’ package for travellers to the Arabian
Gulf. MSC Cruises will replace MSC Musica, which served the region during the
2015/2016 cruise season, with the larger MSC Fantasia for the 2016/2017 season.
Sir Bani Yas Island will be the Arabian Gulf’s only dedicated cruise
beach stopover, and one of Abu Dhabi's primary cruise tourism assets. The Island
is one of the largest natural islands in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, and one of
the eight islands collectively known as the Desert Islands. In 1971, the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al
Nahyan, the founding President of the United Arab Emirates, established Sir
Bani Yas as home to one of Arabia's largest wildlife reserves.
Sir Bani Yas is also home to one
of the most important archaeological sites in the Middle East. To date, 36
archaeological sites have been discovered including a 4,000-year-old circular
tomb, a fortified watchtower, a mosque and the remains of a pre-Islamic
Christian site, the latter open to visitors.
Sultan Al Dhaheri, Acting Executive Director Tourism at Abu Dhabi
Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), said: "Sir Bani Yas Island allows us to present the effectiveness of
our co-ordinated stakeholder approach to the development of Abu Dhabi's cruise
sector, and is just one of many differentiated and diverse shore excursion
opportunities available to cruise passengers.
island is expected to welcome 40 calls from eight ships this cruise season, and
in addition to enjoying access to a fully-equipped beach, cruise passengers can
join an array of Hala Abu Dhabi's exciting natural land and sea-based shore
excursions unique to this island getaway in the sea."
Noura Al Dhaheri, Cruise Terminal Manager at the
Abu Dhabi Cruise Terminal for Abu Dhabi Ports, said: “With
the upcoming launch of Sir Bani Yas for the season 2016/2017, our partnership
with Hala Abu Dhabi will support Abu Dhabi’s ambitions to become one of the major
destinations for cruise tourism in the Gulf, through providing best-in-class
services to cruise liners and tourists.
“The launching of the new
cruise terminal at Zayed Port and Sir Bani Yas Island articulates Abu Dhabi
Ports’ priority to realising the emirate’s huge potential in the cruise
industry, by developing state-of-the-art terminal facilities that will allow
new generation cruise liners to dock in Abu Dhabi. In supporting the tourism
industry and building world-class infrastructure, Abu Dhabi Ports seeks to
become a major contributor to Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification efforts.”
Hala Abu Dhabi has been in operation since 2010
and is the EAG’s certified Professional Conference Organizer (PCO) and
Destination Management Company (DMC). Hala offers complete event and leisure
planning services - from venue sourcing and delegate registration right through
to production and service delivery - by a multi-lingual in-house team.