The UAE’s Abu Dhabi Ports Group and Jordan inaugurated the first cruise terminal in the Jordanian city of Aqaba on Monday. The Aqaba Cruise Terminal comprises of indoor retail spaces, a 700-metre quay wall, passenger and luggage hall, free Wi-Fi, prayer rooms and offices.
The terminal was inaugurated by Jordanian Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Bisher Khasawneh, UAE Ambassador to Jordan H.E. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Mohammed Bin Khalid Al Nahyan, and H.E. Tawfiq Kreishan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Local Administration in Jordan.
The project is a joint venture between AD Ports Group and Aqaba Development Corporation, which aims to boost the coastal city’s position as a regional tourism centre and gateway for travellers visiting the Red Sea. This cruise terminal marks the launch of the first of five strategic mega-projects planned between AD Ports and the Aqaba Development Corporation.
The other four are the development of Marsa Zayed, the Maqta Ayla advanced ports community system, the Aqaba Multipurpose Port, and the development, management and operation of King Hussein International Airport.
AD Ports Group’s Marsa Zayed will be a mega mixed-use waterfront project comprising residential, retail, F&B, commercial and office spaces, hotel and leisure areas
Under this agreement, AD Ports Group will develop, manage, and operate the Aqaba Cruise Terminal, which will serve as a stop for international cruise passengers visiting Jordan, specifically Aqaba, Petra, and Wadi Rum.
Over the next four months, more than 50 vessels are expected to dock at the terminal, bringing tens of thousands of visitors to the popular winter sun destination, according to the two companies.
The UAE-Jordan trade value was around $3 billion last year, and the UAE’s investments in Jordan totaled more than $17 billion, according to Sheikh Khalifa bin Mohammed Al Nahyan, the UAE ambassador to Jordan.
“The UAE is a key strategic partner for Jordan in a number of fields and is keen to propel mutual economic and investment co-operation to greater heights, while building on existing partnerships across different domains,” H.E. Sheikh Khalifa said.
“Ties between the UAE and Jordan have been strengthened even further thanks to the progressive vision and interests of both countries, representing a robust and growing strategic partnership across several vital areas.” H.E. Sheikh Khalifa added.
Captain Mohamed Juma Al Shamisi, Managing Director and Group CEO of Abu Dhabi Ports Group said that this new facility has the “potential to attract tens of thousands of international visitors to explore Jordan’s top attractions, thereby adding economic value to the coastal city while establishing its position as a destination of choice in the Levant region.”
“We remain committed to transforming the city of Aqaba into a competitive investment, commercial and tourism destination on the Red Sea, and the successful inauguration of the Aqaba Cruise Terminal today aligns with these endeavours,” said H.E. Eng. Nayef Fayez, chief commissioner of the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority, and chairman of Aqaba Development Corporation.