16 Jun 2017 – 1:50
Qatar has witnessed a 7 percent increase in visitor arrivals between January and May 2017 compared to the same period in 2016, according to the latest figures from Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).
The largest contributors to the growth were visiting nationals of the Americas and Europe – whose numbers increased by 9 percent and 14 percent respectively.
Further data breakdown by visa type shows a 27 percent increase in leisure visitors, demonstrating the increasingly diverse leisure options for tourists seeking family-friendly entertainment and authentic hospitality.
Qatar also witnessed a 40 percent increase in stopover visitors thanks to the introduction of a free 96-hour transit visa, combined with the success of the +Qatar campaign. Top nationalities attracted by stopover packages are nationals of the USA, UK, India, South Africa, and Pakistan.
According to Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA, targeting stopover passengers and the introduction of the transit visa form part of QTA’s strategy to diversify Qatar’s tourism offering and source markets.
“We continue to work towards launching the Next Chapter of the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy (QNTSS) and implementing it in pursuit of a thriving hospitality and tourism sector,” he said. “The strategy’s main pillar is diversification: of products, of services and of source markets to guarantee the sustainability of the sector and its continued growth in spite of any changes in the world around us,” he said.
Despite the ongoing GCC dispute, QTA officials expressed confidence in the tourism sectors ability to maintain strong performance.
“Qatar has kept its skies and ports of entry open, Qatar Airways continues to fly to and from more than 130 destinations globally, and GCC currencies are still accepted at all tourism establishments,” continued Al Ibrahim. “We will always keep our doors open to visitors and stand ready to welcome them wherever they are coming from.”
Regional promotional efforts this summer are focused on targeting visitors from Kuwait and Oman through marketing, as well as partnerships with on-the-ground tour operators in those countries.
“The largest contribution to growth in GCC visitor arrivals to Qatar during the period January-May 2017 came from Kuwaiti nationals, whose numbers increased by 7 percent. Evidently the time is ripe for us to refocus promotional efforts elsewhere in the GCC, and we look forward to welcoming our brothers and sisters from Kuwait and Oman in their home away from home,” said Al Ibrahim.
Source : thepeninsulaqatar.com