Two new initiatives on stopover passengers introduced recently have attracted increasing number of visitors to the country within a short time, says a senior official at the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).
More than 40,000 travellers have visited the country since the relaxed transit visa rules were introduced for Qatar Airways passengers since November 1 last year, and the +Qatar stopover package has attracted an increasing number of travellers, said Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA. He was speaking at the fourth Annual Tourism Industry Ramadan Ghabga held recently.
Free transit visas for passengers with a minimum layover of five hours in Doha allows transiting passengers to enter Qatar for up to 96 hours in between flights.
+Qatar launched by QTA and Qatar Airways last month, is offered to transiting passengers including a free night's stay at a 4 or 5-star hotel in Doha, alongside a free, 96-hour transit visa.
“In the first quarter of the year, we received ten percent growth in the number of visitors because of the collaborations we have established. A new initiative was introduced as reflection of policy changes we have done at a governmental level. We have been working very closely with Qatar Airways and the Ministry of Interior to launch the new initiative.
"As a result of this more than 40,000 people have used the transit visa and visited Qatar,” said Al Ibrahim addressing the gathering with QTA’s partners in the public and private sector, staff and media representatives at the Four Seasons Hotel.
“We also launched +Qatar during this season. We are running it between now and until end of the summer. We are very happy to see that many people are booking on regular basis and numbers are increasing by the day. We haven’t seen any cancellations, we haven’t seen any changes, and the numbers are growing,” he added.
Also, more than 45,000 passengers arrived on Qatar’s shores in 2016/2017 season.
“We also have seen the growth of the cruise industry. It was first big year for Qatar in cruise tourism, we received between 45,000 and 46,000 people on board,” said Al Ibrahim.
He also highlighted that the next phase of the National Tourism Sector Strategy is set to be launched in September to coincide with the World Tourism Day.
“From the previous strategy, we have so much in diversifying not just the products and the offerings we are emphasising so much on our main points of strength. We are focusing on areas like business development, family entertainment, authentic experiences, sports and much more,” said Al Ibrahim. (Source)
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