More tourists arrive despite siege

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The first half of this year witnessed a growth in the number of tourists visiting Qatar with expectations of an increase in the coming period, especially after the announcement of the exemption of citizens of 80 countries to obtain a visa to enter the country.
Despite the siege imposed on Qatar since June 5, the tourism movement witnessed an increase in the number of tourists, which is confirmed by occupancy rates of hotels that are registered, especially during Eid Al Fitr holidays, where the occupancy rate was 95%. Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is working on a number of initiatives and promotional campaigns to find new markets to attract tourists and diversify the tourism product to ensure the prosperity of Qatar’s tourism industry, which has not been affected by the siege.
On the Authority’s efforts in developing the tourism sector, Chief of QTA’s Tourism Development Sector, Hassan Al Ibrahim, said in a statement to QNA that there are many steps taken by the Authority in response to its 2030 tourism strategy and to support the tourism sector in Qatar, the most recently is the visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries. He added that one of the Authority’s objectives is to diversify the target markets and segments and that the visa-free entry initiative comes in this context, stressing QTA’s intention to continue opening new representative offices in addition to carrying out many future promotional campaigns with its partners to promote Qatar and support the tourism sector.
Al Ibrahim said some of the markets currently targeted by QTA were planned to be targeted in the coming years, but due to the siege imposed on Qatar, it is targeting other new markets in order to attract tourists who wish to visit Qatar and know about its historical and heritage features and its renaissance.
Al Ibrahim expected that the openness initiative to 80 countries will have a positive impact on the number of tourists coming and will contribute to the growth of the tourism sector at a faster pace. He stressed that the first half of this year witnessed a growth in the number of tourists, which he considered a good thing, noting that the Authority intends to launch more incentive initiatives for the tourism sector with the launch of the national strategy for the tourism sector after being updated during the celebration of the World Tourism Day on September 27.
The activity of the tourism sector in Qatar during the recent period, he said, was not only due to the support of the competent authorities in tourism but also due to the awareness of the citizens of the importance of this sector and they played a role in the flourishing of the domestic tourism where most of the Qataris preferred to stay in Qatar and spend their holidays in solidarity with their country.
The initiatives launched by QTA have been diversified to include all aspects of entertainment that benefit citizens and residents, attract tourists to Qatar and contribute to the advancement of the local economy.
Qatar Summer Festival 2017, which started on June 25 and will last until September with the participation of 77 hotels establishments and carries the slogan “Colour Your Summer”, plays a major role in promoting the tourism sector and attracting tourists despite the siege imposed on the country.
In this context, Director of QTA’s Festivals and Events, Mashal Shahbik, said the Qatar Summer Festival offers visitors integrated package, including travel and hospitality packages as well as a variety of shopping and entertainment options for all members of the family to enjoy.
The summer festivities, which this year extend from Eid Al Fitr to Eid Al Adha, form a key part of QTA’s efforts to energise the tourism sector through diversifying tourist activities and tourism markets, she said.
Shahbik said that the advent of Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha during the summer months of this year was an ideal opportunity to combine the two Eids celebrations within Qatar Summer Festival, adding that visitors and residents will also have more choice in terms of leisure activities, shopping discounts and hotels’ offers.
The country has witnessed the arrival of a large number of tourists and visitors from Oman and Kuwait as well as foreign tourists who to took advantage of competitive offers provided by hotels during that period, which also emphasises the strength of the hospitality sector in the country.
As part of its efforts to provide tourists with the opportunity to travel, stay and shop smoothly in Qatar, QTA has also cooperated with many entities to enable tourists to benefit from the offers of accommodation offered by the luxury hospitality sector in the State of Qatar.
In term of the events and activities during Qatar Summer Festival, which is being held until the end of Eid al-Adha, the festival’s organizers announced that they have reached an agreement with Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition to launch a summer edition. (Source)