Tourism boom

 29 Nov 2017 - 14:59

The Peninsula

Qatar is in the midst of tourism boom. And Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is leaving no stone unturned in its mission to firmly establish the country on the global map as a place where cultural authenticity meets modernity, and where people of the world come together to experience Qatar’s unique culture and diversity.

Qatar is an inspiring land of peace, security and authentic Arabic hospitality that gives every traveller an unforgettable experience. From calm beaches to amazing landscapes, cultural landmarks, heritage sites and pristine deserts, Qatar has something special to offer for every tourist.

Despite the ongoing siege, the country is fast becoming a favourite destination for tourists as over 1.8 million people from various parts of the world visited Qatar, according to a recently released statistics on number of visitors from January to September 2017.

Even hotel occupancy and hotel apartment occupancy rate witnessed a surge during the period. In the last quarter of 2016, QTA, the Ministry of Interior and Qatar Airways introduced a free 96-hour transit visa . The scheme attracted a huge increase in stopover passengers at Hamad International Airport. In August this year, Qatar had eased its visa policies allowing citizens of 80 countries visa-free entry. After the announcement, Qatar became the first country in the region in terms of number of nationalities eligible to enter visa-free, making it the most open country in the region.

In September, in another move to facilitate visitors, Qatar made Electronic Travel Authorisation available to visitors of all nationalities who held valid residence permits or visas from either the United Kingdom, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Schengen countries, or the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.

Recently, the Cabinet approved a draft law on establishing the National Tourism Council to promote comprehensive development plans for tourism sector and organise and promote them internally and externally. Also, “Discover Qatar”, the destination management company arm of Qatar Airways, signed exclusive partnership agreements with four of the world’s major tour operators in Russia, Italy, Czech Republic and Ukraine, in order to promote Qatar as a major tourist destination.

In 2014, QTA launched the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy. This year, the next chapter of QNTSS was launched, charting the next five years (2017-2023) of the tourism sector’s growth. Since its launching, Qatar has welcomed over 10 million visitors. Hospitality is the essence of Qatari culture and tourism in Qatar has entered a new age in the midst of development and modernisation and in the run-up to 2022 FIFA World Cup.