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7 February 2018 11:30 am

Discover Qatar and QTA enhance city and desert tours

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Discover Qatar, the destination management subsidiary arm of Qatar Airways, has announced a new selection of pre-bookable city and desert tours for passengers transiting through Qatar, making it one of the world’s leading inbound tourism providers for transit passengers.

The Discover Qatar Transit Tours allow all passengers with a transit time at Hamad International Airport (HIA) of five–12 hours to choose from a range of activities to help them experience Qatar during their stopover. This includes visiting key landmarks including The Pearl-Qatar for the finest quality shops and restaurants; Katara Cultural Village, a centre dedicated to celebrating arts and heritage; Souq Waqif, for traditional jewellery, spices and handicrafts; and the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA), for its stunning collection of art, architecture and beautiful seaside park. In addition, passengers can book a unique desert experience and visit Sealine Beach and the sand dunes of Mesaieed either in the exclusive off-road monster bus or a luxury 4 X 4 vehicle during their stopover. Alongside city and desert tours, transit passengers can also book the ‘Stop & Shop’ tour which offers a chauffeur-driven car to the Mall of Qatar – home to luxury fashion brands and world-class restaurants.

The renowned city tours, initially launched in 2015, have been hugely popular with passengers transiting through HIA. In a move to provide more options, Discover Qatar has revamped and enhanced its transit tours, offering a wide variety of new exciting excursions. They now include the popular Doha City Tour, in addition to a ‘Monster Bus Desert Experience,’ Private Desert Safari, Stop & Shop and chauffeur services for passengers who wish to explore Qatar at their own pace. 

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “As the National Carrier of the State of Qatar, we are very proud to be playing our part in the growth of Qatar’s tourism industry, in partnership with Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).  With our new and enhanced pre-bookable Discover Qatar Transit Tours, Qatar now offers one of the finest transit packages globally to suit every traveller’s taste.

“The city and desert tours will allow our passengers to enjoy every step of their journey with us, and we hope to see more of our passengers booking and taking part in these tours, to experience Qatar’s renowned hospitality, culture and heritage, and the vibrant city of Doha, before connecting to one of more than 150 destinations that we serve on our expanding global network.”

Qatar Airways passengers who wish to take the advantage of the Discover Qatar Transit Tours can pre-book on Discover Qatar’s website: http://discoverqatar.qatarairways.com/transit-tours  or visit the Discover Qatar Transit Tours desk at Hamad International Airport with their valid passports and boarding passes for their onward travel.

Hassan Al Ibrahim, Acting Chairman of QTA, said: “Our partnership with Qatar Airways to introduce these transit tours, as well as the 96-hour free transit visa which was brought into effect last year, all come as part of our efforts to diversify and grow Qatar’s visitor source markets. New developments such as these are guided by the next chapter of the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2017-2023, which is focused on enhancing the end-to-end experience for travellers who are either en route to another country or have chosen Qatar as their destination.”

"Visitors who are able to venture out of the airport and enjoy short excursions during their stopover are more likely to make longer visits in the future. Through facilitating transit passengers’ ability to explore and experience our country’s unique and authentic tourism offerings, we are able to spread our message of welcoming the world.”

Discover Qatar encourages all passengers to consider adding Qatar to their itinerary. In addition to the Discover Qatar Transit Tours, Discover Qatar offers a range of other services for passengers by bringing together the best stopover packages, hotels and ground arrangements. Visitors can select from an array of four- and five-star hotels, airport transfers, desert safari and city tours on Discover Qatar’s website.

Passengers who wish to turn a layover into a stay-over can take advantage of recently launched +Qatar programme, which allows them to discover the culture and attractions of Qatar with a complimentary hotel stay or two-night stay offers at one of Qatar’s many international hotels. Travellers who wish to take this opportunity to visit Doha during their journey can use the multi-city booking option to include the stop in Doha when booking their flights on qatarairways.com or contact their nearest Qatar Airways office or travel agent.

In August 2017, Qatar's Ministry of Interior (MoI), QTA and Qatar Airways announced that nationals from more than 80 countries can take advantage of visa-free entry into Qatar, thanks to Qatar's new visa waiver upon arrival. Depending on the nationality of the visitor, the waiver will either be valid for 180 days from the date of issue, and allow the visitor to spend a total of 90 days in Qatar (multiple-entry waiver); or it will be valid for 30 days from the date of issue and entitle the visitor to spend up to 30 days in Qatar with the possibility of applying for an extension of the waiver for an additional 30 days (multiple-entry waiver).

Qatar Airways, one of the fastest growing airlines in the history of aviation, will continue to expand its global network in 2018 by adding flights to Canberra, Australia; Thessaloniki, Greece and Cardiff, UK, in the coming months. Qatar Airways has one of the youngest and most modern fleets in the world, with more than 200 aircraft flying to business and leisure destinations across six continents.

The award-winning airline has received a number of recent accolades, including ‘Airline of the Year’ by the prestigious 2017 Skytrax World Airline Awards, which was held at the Paris Air Show. This is the fourth time that Qatar Airways has been given this global recognition. Qatar’s national carrier also won a raft of other major awards at the ceremony, including ‘Best Airline in the Middle East,' 'World’s Best Business Class,’ and ‘World’s Best First Class Airline Lounge.'

Cover image courtesy of Qatar Airways