Qatar’s tourism promotion agency claims that tourist arrivals in the country have been going up considerably, but the figures it has released suggest that a vast majority of people who come here are business visitors.
And while Qatar looks up to the west to promote tourism, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) statistics for the second quarter (Q2) of this year reflect that tourist arrivals from Europe, North and South America total almost half of such arrivals from Asia.
Some 61,406 people visited Qatar between April and June this year and more than 60 percent (43,108) were business visitors.
Only 18,298 people were tourists, more than half of them (9,199) Asians — most of whom, understandably, come here looking for jobs.
Asians again outnumbered all others in the category of business visitors as well, as they accounted for 28,905 out of the 43,108 business visitors in Q2 of 2013, QTA’s figures show. It was the same in the second quarter (April to June) of 2012. The arrivals in the country in the period totalled 57,334, of which 40,872 or 70 percent were here for business.
Tourists totalled 16,462 in Q2 of 2012 — and again, half of them (7,837) were Asians, many of whom suspected of coming here to find jobs. In the second quarter of this year, only 76 Australians, 3,581 Europeans, 895 North Americans, 878 South Americans, 447 non-Arab Africans and 16 others came here as tourists — their total only more than half of the Asian tourist arrivals.
European business visitors who arrived here in the above period (April to June 2013) numbered 5,719, which was less than even those business visitors who came here from Arab countries in that period, as they totalled 6,450.
Asian countries, as mentioned earlier, with a total of 28,905 business visitors took the cake. North American business visitors in the period were barely 991, and only 171 were from South America. African business visitors totalled only 634.
The relatively poorer turnout of visitors, both in business and tourist categories, from Europe, North America and Australia was despite the fact that most of them have easy access to visa-on -arrival at the Doha International airport, while Asians and Arabs do not enjoy this privilege.
The QTA gave separate figures for tourist arrivals from GCC states. Of the total 238,962 arrivals in Q2 of 2013, more than half (144,491) were from Saudi Arabia.
The UAE ranked second with a figure of 28,712, closely followed by Bahrain (26,433) and Oman (24,569). Kuwait ended at the end of the ladder with only 14,757 arrivals. The GCC arrivals in Q2 of 2013 were 15 percent more as compared to the same period of 2012. Second quarter 2013 revenues of five-star hotels in the country stood at QR766.59m, up from QR615.77m in Q2 of 2012.
Follow us on our social media channels: