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29 January 2019 10:00 am

Why is Qatar topping almost every global tourism survey?

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Besides being the only country in the world to start with the letter Q, there are still tons of interesting—and sometimes bewildering—facts that many people don't know yet about Qatar.

If you're keen to know 10 lesser-known facts about Qatar, click HERE.

Not only that. The predominantly-Muslim country, which the major chunk is made up mostly of expats from all parts of the globe, has also been doing really well in global surveys—making it the most internationally-recognized Arab country in the recent months, especially in terms of tourism.

Here are the three most recent tourism-related accolades that Qatar was able to snag from some of the most revered publications and organizations in existence:

1. Top 15 Places to Visit in 2019

Award given by: Forbes Magazine
January 2019

Msheireb Downtown Doha Project
Msheireb Downtown Doha project

In a January 27 article by Doha daily The Peninsula, it was made public that Qatar was among Forbes' Top 15 Places to Visit in 2019.

The report by the Amerian bi-weekly business magazine noted Qatar's self-reliance even after the blockade was imposed 1 year and 6 months ago and mentioned in particular Msheireb Downtown Doha's careful attention to cultural preservation which makes Doha feel more authentic than nearby Dubai.

The places other than Doha mentioned in the list are: Montenegro, Chile, Perth and Tasmania in Australia, Chengdu in China, Puerto Rico, Egypt, Berlin in Germany, Baja Peninsula in Mexico, Dolomites in Italy, Japanese Countryside, Namibia, Israel and Texas in USA.

The above recognition from Forbes also proves the growing stature of Qatar as a tourist destination among international travelers.

1. 52 Places to Go in 2019

Award given by: The New York Times
January 2019

The National Museum of Qatar
The yet-to-open National Museum of Qatar (Source:

The awards season for Qatar's tourism promise kicked off second week of 2019 when The New York Times listed Qatar as the only GCC country to make it in their annual list of the ‘52 Places to Go in 2019’, showing that the Arabian Peninsula has become a must go destination for travellers around the world.

The American daily has cited futuristic designs and architecture of Qatar’s world famous skyscrapers as one of the main attractions for visitors with the yet-to-open National Museum in the special mentions list, calling it "a sprawling expanse of interlocking tilted circular discs by world-renowned Jean Nouvel."

The annual list, which includes names of 52 places across the globe to visit, is topped by Puerto Rico, followed by Hampi in southern India and Santa Barbara in California, US. Doha has secured 37th place in the list, leaving behind big names like Los Angeles, Perth, Hong Kong and other global cities.

3. Most Open Country in the Middle East

Award given by: United Nations World Tourism Organization
September 2018

Most Open Country in the Middle East

The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) late last year updated and disclosed its visa openness rankings and out of 195 countries, only one GCC country made it to the Top 10 which also ranked 1st—in terms of VISA facilitation—in the MENA region which is Qatar.

The apparently high ranking reflects a string of VISA facilitation measures introduced by Qatar, including allowing nationals of 88 countries to enter VISA-free and with not a single Riyal. This has lead to Qatar’s openness score which has leapt by an epic 71.3 points since 2014, when it ranked 177th out of 195.

This proves Qatar's position as one of the freest countries in the region offering visa-free entry for a large number of nationalities.

Apart from these, the State of Qatar was as well included in the list of the ‘Top 100 City Destinations’ worldwide by Euromonitor 2018—the world's leading independent provider of strategic market research.

To know the 8 reasons why Qatar deserves to be the '8th Most Open Country in the World,' click HERE.

So what is the reason behind Qatar's consistent winning streak in almost every tourism index?

Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar
(Source: Shutterstock Image)

We're not going to write much in order to answer this question. We'll just let these 5 valid and logical reasons speak for themselves:

  • Qatar is one of the safest.
  • Qatar is one the cleanest.
  • Qatar hosted the 2017 World Tourism Day with flying colours
  • Qatar is home to one of the best 5-star airlines in the world
  • And... Qatar is set to become the first Arab country in history to host the epic 2022 FIFA World Cup
Which leads us to...

The Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030

Education City in Doha, Qatar
(Source: Shutterstock Image)

Launched in 2014, the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 (QNTSS), charts the next 5 years of Qatar’s tourism sector development. Since QNTSS' inception, strong foundations have been laid for the tourism sector with major achievements across policy, product, and promotion.

To get yourself familiar with the Qatar National Vision 2030, click HERE.

Here's how things are going for the QNTSS according to Visit Qatar's website:

Major Policy Developments

Thanks to a visa waiver policy allowing citizens of 80 countries to enter Qatar visa-free. Qatar also introduced a free 96-hour transit visa, which has increased the number of stopover passengers by over 40%.

Emergence of Cruise Tourism

With projections to welcome 300,000 cruise visitors in the 2019/2020 season. This growth is supported by the QAR 2 billion project to redevelop Doha Port, which began in 2017.

For a sneak peek on Qatar’s permanent ferry line with neighbours Oman and Kuwait, click HERE.

Increasing Economic Impact

Qatar’s overall economy in year 2016 estimates a total (direct and indirect) contribution to Qatar’s GDP of 6.7%.

International Recognition

Qatar was among Euromonitor’s Top 100 City Destinations (as mentioned above) and has been ranked as the top GCC destination in Olery’s Guest Experience in the Middle East Report for 2016 & 2017.

New and Enticing Festivals

Creating a colourful year-round calendar of events and making significant contributions to the local economy.

To know the Top 5 Must-See Festivals in Qatar, watch this QTip.

Growing Global Presence

Through the establishment of 9 international representative offices and over 200 global media and trade campaigns in key markets.

Qanat Quatier in Doha, Qatar
(Source: Shutterstock Image)

Make your stay in Qatar worth the while!

Travelers flying Qatar Airways can take advantage of the airline's stopover programme in association with the National Tourism Council and enjoy the country visa-free for up to 96 hours!

For tips that you should know before traveling to Qatar, refer HERE.

To know more about the National Tourism Council Qatar, check out their website and social media links below!

About the National Tourism Council Qatar:


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