The UAE’s coastal city of Khorfakkan has become a popular cruise destination for Costa Cruises and MSC Cruises on their Arabian Gulf cruise itineraries out of Dubai, now the city has a dedicated tourism office and information center ahead of the 2017-18 winter cruise season.
Khorfakkan Port has been a destination for luxury cruise-liners since the early 1980s, with an Indian Ocean coast that made it a convenient port of call on World Cruises, but in recent years, with the growth of Dubai as a homeport for cruise ships during the winter, it has become a regular port of call for MSC and Costa Cruises.
The Middle East cruise season runs from December to April each year and during this period Khorfakkan typically receives around 70,000 cruise tourists, contributing more than US $7-million to the local economy, making it an integral part of Sharjah’s plan to attract more than 10 million tourists to the emirate by year 2021.
The emirate is determined to entice more cruise lines to add Khorfakkan as a port of call during future cruise seasons and the new tourism office and information center, along with the new cruise terminal being developed, will help in this effort.
Sharjah is also investing in a number of other tourism infrastructure projects in Khorfakkan to boost its cruise port credentials, such as Al Jabal Resort, Chedi Khorfakkan, Khorfakkan Flag Square, and Khorfakkan.
The new SCTDA office will also be responsible for promoting the nearby coastal town of Kalba, where there are already a wide range of projects being developed to enhance the east coast’s tourism appeal.
The largest integrated infrastructure development is Kalba Eco-Tourism Project, led by Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), which combines modern tourism facilities and attractions with environmental conservation.
The new tourism office is expected to offer a comprehensive range of services to help increase awareness about Sharjah’s tourist attractions, provide assistance for tourist groups and tourism companies, while acting as a tourism information centre.