Members of the cruise tourism industry gathered to celebrate the close of the 2016/17 season, which ended last month with remarkable growth in both the numbers of ships and passengers.
Representatives from across the cruise tourism value chain, including immigration, port and customs officials; tour guides and tour operators, providers of logistical support and operators of tourism landmarks were recognised by Qatar Tourism Authority for their role in facilitating seamless and memorable experiences for 47,000 passengers and crew.
The visitors, whose numbers have increased by over 1000%, arrived at Qatar’s shores on board 22 cruise ships and one mega-yacht, an increase of 120% from the number of cruise ships received last season.
Addressing attendees, Mr. Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA, said “In addition to being our busiest season to date, this was also a season of many firsts, with Qatar welcoming its first mega-ship, and two cruise ships docking simultaneously in Doha port for the first time. And, this season was the first time that cruise tourists were able to benefit from a new, streamlined disembarkation process, and the newly introduced free 96-hour transit visa.”
“None of this would have been possible without all of our partners who are with us today. On behalf of QTA, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of you for your hard work, your support, and the collaborative spirit you have shown throughout the season.”
QTA’s projections show a three-fold increase in the number of ship calls over the next three years. QTA is working with partners to carefully plan, develop and and manage the cruise terminal facilities, infrastructure and operations needed to achieve this growth. Once all developments are completed, projections show that the cruise industry has the potential to generate over QAR350 million per annum by 2026.
Worth mentioning is that the top ten nationalities that have visited Qatar on board cruise ships are British, followed by Italian, Spanish, German, Belgian, French, Swiss, American, Brazilian and Irish.
In collaboration with partners at the Ministry of Transport & Communication, Mwani – Qatar Ports Management Company, preparations are underway begin upgrading Doha Port this year. Once complete, the Port will be a world-class cruise ship hub and a tourist destination in the heart of Doha, helping to position the country as a turnaround port by the 2018/19 cruise season.
QTA and Mwani have confirmed that Doha Port will continue to welcome cruise ships in the 2017/18 season.
“Collectively, we have proven Qatar’s value as a successful and attractive tourist destination to dozens of cruise liners and thousands of passengers,” commented Al Ibrahim. “I am confident that even as work begins on the redevelopment of Doha Port, we will be able to provide smooth and memorable end-to-end experiences that reinforce Qatar’s position as a truly world-class hub with deep, authentic roots.”
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