The Foreign Ministry has urged Qatari citizens who plan to travel to Europe, particularly to the UK, during the upcoming summer break to apply for visas and hotel bookings much in advance due to the Olympic Games slated to be held in the UK in July.
“An overcrowding is expected (in the UK) due to the 2012 Olympic Games fixture in July,” an official at the Consular Affairs Department at the Foreign Ministry said yesterday, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.
The official said he expected the coming period to witness a lot of pressure on visa processing (due to large number of applications) and on air as well as hotel bookings due to the major sporting event and the large numbers of people that are expected to visit the British capital.
“So we request fellow nationals who wish to travel to Europe to apply for visas and make bookings much in advance,” said the ministry official.
Travel agencies, meanwhile, say they are getting a lot of enquiries, especially, from Qataris wishing to travel to London for holidaying.
“We have already made at least 100 air and hotel bookings for London,” said a senior travel agency official not wanting his name in print. “And all these bookings are from Qatari families.”
He said London remains the most preferred holiday destination of Qatari families followed by French and German cities. “But this year many people are also enquiring about Vienna,” he said.
According to the official, not all Qataris wanting to travel to London for holidaying in the upcoming summer season are interested in the Olympics.
The Olympics get under way on July 27 with media reports already suggesting that serpentine queues at London’s Heathrow airport due to immigration staff shortages.
The travel agency official said that after the Dubai Travel Mart is over on May 3 (the event kicks off tomorrow), hotel tariffs in London and the rest of Europe and the world are likely to be revised.
“We expect the new rates to be applicable after the global travel show in Dubai and we expect more air and hotel bookings for London and other European destinations to take place after that,” the official said.