Saudi Arabia records 30,000 cruise passengers last season
A third of cruise passengers are international and represent more than 80 nationalities.
MSC Cruises, Scenic Group, Viking and Silversea have totaled 70 calls in the country, with MSC Bellissima and Scenic Eclipse both at home in Jeddah, summer and winter.
Lars Clasen “humbled” by the successes
The winter season itinerary saw the region collaborate to develop three-, four-, or seven-night itineraries that included stops in Jordan, as well as along the Saudi Arabian coast. Cruise Saudi CEO Lars Clasen said: “The successes achieved in such a short time, from developing the infrastructure needed by the cruise industry, to partnering with government entities and international cruise lines and welcoming passengers from all over the world, left us humbled”. .
“Cruise Saudi’s goal is to catalyze the development of the local cruise industry by promoting Saudi Arabia as a premier cruise destination and establishing the sector as a new pillar of the industry. growing Saudi tourism sector, in line with the Saudi leadership’s transformation plan – and this is just the beginning for us.’
Two of Saudi Arabia’s six UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Hegra in AlUla and the historic city of Jeddah, the gateway to Mecca – were among the attractions offered to cruise passengers on 14 different tour programs. Jeddah, King Abdullah Economic City and Yanbu were among the ports of call; a fourth port in Dammam on the Persian Gulf is preparing to receive cruise liners.
So far, 58 students have participated in specialized programs that equip young Saudis with the skills needed to work in the cruise and tourism industry. Initiated by Cruise Saudi, onboard hospitality training programs have been conducted in collaboration with King Abdulaziz University and Prince Mugrin University, as well as the Culinary Arts Commission to train local chefs on board ships and develop culinary guides introducing tourists to authentic Saudi flavors.
A tour guide training program, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and the Saudi Association of Tour Guides, has also been launched to create the first generation of cruise-specific tour guides.
Cruise Saudi is striving to welcome 1.3 million cruise passengers per year by 2035.