The country welcomed 244,261 visitors from the GCC in December 2022, an annual increase of 447.5%.
With a year-over-year increase of 101% and the arrival of more than 35 million passengers, 2022 saw a spike in passenger traffic at Hamad International Airport (HIA).
The number of air traffic movements accounted to 217,875 in 2022, an increase of 28.2% compared to 2021, according to reports.
As Qatar and HIA prepared to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, passenger traffic at the airport increased after the first quarter of the year, which was then impacted by Covid-19 travel restrictions.
The traffic has been attributed primarily to Qatar Airways’ expansion, the draw of new airlines and the increase in travel demand brought in by the major football tournament.
In 2022, new passenger airline alliances were formed between Malaysia Airlines and Kuala Lumpur, American Airlines and New York/JFK, Royal Air Maroc and Casablanca, Finnair and Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Helsinki, Air Algeria and Algiers, and FlyNas and Riyadh and Jeddah.
HIA served 44 operators and connected the Gulf nation to over 170 destinations globally, last year alone.
India, the United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates, Australia, the Philippines, Germany, and Turkey were the top ten most popular countries last year out of Hamad International Airport by passenger volume.
With a 51% increase, the US outperformed the number of passengers in 2019, followed by Pakistan with an 18% surge.
London, Bangkok, Manila, Colombo, Dhaka, New Delhi, Paris, Kathmandu, Kuwait, and Cairo ranked among the top ten most sought-after travel destinations from HIA last year.
Africa was the ever-growing region in passenger volumes overtaking the 2019 statistics by 165%, followed closely by the Americas, which soared by 162%.
Point-to-Point traffic increased by 85% last year, which was capitalised on by the FIFA World Cup and new tourism infrastructure built over the past years in the lead up to the tournament.
Separately, over 1.4 million people attended the FIFA World Cup in 2022, which as a result increased demand in both the tourism and hospitality industries in the country. Regionally, the country welcomed 244,261 visitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in December 2022, compared to 44,612 in the same month in 2021, recording an annual increase of 447.5%.
The Arab Tourism Capital’s key was recently handed over to Qatar Airways CEO Akbar Al Baker during an official ceremony recognising Doha as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2023.
The Qatar Tourism Chairman said that Doha has witnessed an ‘unparalleled increase’ in tourism as a result of the region’s first-ever hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
The Qatar Airways CEO also noted that the world’s perspective of Qatar and the entire Arab world has transformed as a result of the FIFA World Cup’s successful hosting, reflecting the region’s genuine, positive identity and opening the way for a thriving tourism sector.
With Qatar Airways being named “Airline of the Year” by the international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax, for an unprecedented seven times, and Hamad International Airport being named “Best Airport in the World 2022” for the second consecutive year by the Skytrax Airport Awards, he noted that Qatar possesses all the necessary characteristics to be a global hub for tourism.
Al Baker further pointed to the Gulf nation’s investments in the infrastructure needed to host an influx of tourists, such as the Doha Metro, safe and reasonably priced taxis and other forms of transportation.
Prestigious hotels and tourist facilities that combine heritage with sophisticated and modern luxury, as well as various sites and attractions throughout the nation, are also among the infrastructure that have been heavily invested into by authorities in Qatar.
While Paris has long reigned as the most romantic city in the world, according to Hollywood films, books and stories, the French city may now have competition, as Qatar has stepped in, according to popular online engagements.
Doha and its tourist attractions have been amplified on the map as popular social media platforms have recognised its efforts.
A website listed the 23 most popular romantic destinations according to the number of TikTok views on their associated hashtags, in which Doha ranked first with the lavish city boasting 7.4 billion views under the #Doha and #DohaLove hashtags.