Qatar seals its global travel destination status

Qatar seals its global travel destination status


Qatar is fast emerging as one of the most exciting global travel destinations, featuring a mix of rich Arabian tradition and heritage that has delighted guests around the globe for decades.

In 2023, the country crossed the 4-million visitor mark, exceeding annual arrival numbers for the past five years. During the first quarter of 2024, Qatar welcomed nearly 1.7 million visitors, with January alone witnessing a remarkable influx of 700,000 visitors, setting a new record for single-month arrivals. Among these visitors, 44 percent hailed from the GCC region, with Saudi Arabia comprising the largest share at 28 percent, followed by Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and the UAE.

Key role for tourism

These impressive numbers come with the State of Qatar having recently launched its Third National Development Strategy 2024- 2030. The strategy outlines the plan for the next phase of Qatar’s development journey toward realizing Qatar National Vision 2030. It identifies the tourism sector as a major sector within the economic diversification clusters earmarked to contribute to achieving sustainable economic growth. In line with Qatar National Vision 2030, Visit Qatar’s eªorts are focused on enhancing the country’s tourism infrastructure, promoting sustainable development and fostering cultural exchange.

Visitor-friendly processes

Qatar’s growth is also due to its award winning national carrier, which connects Doha to more than 177 key business and leisure destinations across six continents. Qatar Airways has won Skytrax’s Airline of the Year title numerous times and boasts unmatched service and network coverage, making it the airline of choice for today’s business travelers.

Hamad International Airport has also been voted as the World’s Best Airport at the Skytrax World Airport Awards, winning the title for a third time. In addition, Qatar is recognized as the most open country in the Middle East and the eighth most open in the world in terms of visa facilitation, with citizens from 102 countries granted visas on arrival. The digital ecosystem for travelers has also been enhanced. The country continues to work on Qatar’s National Tourism Strategy 2030, aiming to make it one of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the region. The goal is to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to GDP by 12 percent by 2030 and to increase domestic tourism spending three or fourfold, aligning with Qatar’s National Vision 2030. Two countries, single trips Visit Qatar and the Saudi Tourism Authority have joined forces to launch an exciting new campaign, titled Double the Discovery. This collaborative resort aims to also promote tourism in neighboring GCC countries, offering residents and international visitors the chance to explore the rich cultural and historical wonders of Qatar and Saudi Arabia in a single trip. As part of the campaign, tourists will be provided with extensive city guides, ordering relevant and detailed information about the top attractions, things to do, shopping venues and restaurants in both Qatar and Saudi Arabia. These guides aim to assist travelers in making the most of their visit and experiencing the best each country has to offer. Visit Qatar is also working with government entities for stopover packages for visitors, which include 24-hour check-in facilities, enabling guests to make the most of their time in Qatar, and which can be tailored to accommodate add-on options, including airport assistance, transfers and a range of tours and experiences, enhancing their stay.

A successful cruise season

Qatar is a premium cruise destination, with a host of world-class cruise ships visiting the country. It is home to a new Grand Cruise Terminal, located in the center of the capital, which oªers unparalleled connectivity to the city’s most prominent tourist attractions. These include the Corniche, the Museum of Islamic Art, National Museum of Qatar and Msheireb Downtown, as well as the traditional standing market, or Souq Waqif. The 2023/24 cruise season got underway in October 2023 and ended in April 2024. Doha Port hosted 73 cruises with 347,000 passengers. Cruise ships such as Norwegian Dawn and Star Legend made their debut in Qatar this season, with both ships operating as full homeporting vessels embarking from Doha. In January 2024 alone, Doha Port welcomed 19 cruise visits. The total number of cruise visitors reached 199, 863 over the season. The next cruise season 2024/25 will begin in October 2024.

Exciting new attractions

Several new attractions were launched in 2024, including Our Habitas Ras Abrouq, an award-winning and sustainable resort, located at the edge of the UNESCO protected Al-Reem Biosphere Reserve, making it ideal for a relaxing stay. The partnership between Our Habitas and Qatar Airways allows luxury travelers seeking new experiences to discover the natural wonders of Qatar. Visit Qatar will also closely collaborate with Our Habitas to deliver transformative travel experiences through art exhibits, unique pop-up dining experiences, film screenings, concerts and more. Meryal Waterpark is another newly opened Qatar attraction. The park is located on the recently developed Qetaifan Island in Lusail and is home to the 85-meter high Icon Tower, which others visitors an abundance of exciting attractions, including 36 waterslides.


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About author

Rita Ghantous

Rita Ghantous is a hospitality aficionado and a passionate writer with over 9 years’ experience in journalism and 5 years experience in the hospitality sector. Her passion for the performance arts and writing, started early. At 10 years old she was praised for her solo performance of the Beatles song “All My Love” accompanied by a guitarist, and was approached by a French talent scout during her school play. However, her love for writing was stronger. Fresh out of school, she became a freelance journalist for Noun Magazine and was awarded the Silver Award Cup for Outstanding Poetry, by The International Library of Poetry (Washington DC). She studied Business Management and earned a Masters degree from Saint Joseph University (USJ), her thesis was published in the Proche-Orient, Études en Management book. She then pursued a career in the hospitality industry but didn’t give up writing, that is why she launched the Four Points by Sheraton Le Verdun Newsletter. Her love for the industry and journalism led her to Hospitality Services - the organizers of the HORECA trade show in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Jordan, as well as Salon Du Chocolat, Beirut Cooking Festival, Whisky Live and other regional shows. She is currently the Publications Executive of Hospitality News Middle East, Taste & Flavors and Lebanon Traveler. It is with ultimate devotion for her magazines that she demonstrates her hospitality savoir-faire.

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