The swine flu scare is prompting many nationals to cancel their overseas travel plans this summer, community and travel and tourism industry sources say.
Qatari nationals are known to travel abroad during the long vacations in the summer and winter months. But some national and expatriate families have put their summer travel plans on hold due to the scare caused by swine flu. They may at best visit some neighbouring countries.
Many who have cancelled their travel plans are wondering what they will do in Doha during the lean summer months. The cancellation of this year’s Qatar Summer Wonders, a popular summer festival which was held here regularly, has left many citizens unhappy.
Concerns over what activities and entertainment will be available in Qatar this summer are being raised by people of all ages.
Many are wondering if the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) will hold some festival on the lines of Qatar Summer Wonders.
“I have no travel plans this year. I plan to stay on in Doha in the summer,” Saqr Al Buainain, a national, told The Peninsula.
“My main concern is the spread of swine flu, and I only plan to travel when the situation about the epidemic is clear, and when health authorities globally have the deadly virus contained,” he added.
Speaking about what he planned doing during the summer months here, Al Buainain said, “The biggest problem is that my friends and I don’t want to fall into the usual programme of just going to malls, shopping centres and cafes.”
Another national, Mohammad Al Ali, said, “I’ll be visiting the UAE and Lebanon.” Asked why he did not want to stay on here, Al Ali said: “Many of the neighbouring countries have exciting summer festivals and events.”
“I’m surprised why Qatar doesn’t have plans for such events because it is known to be an excellent organiser of forums, conferences and conventions, yet it is lagging in tourism-related activities, even though we have outstanding resources to organise such events,” added Al Ali.
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