In less than five seasons, Qatar’s shores saw an increase in its number of docked ships and passengers for more than six folds.
Qatar Tourism has welcomed almost 58,000 passengers and crew members in the first half of the 2021-2022 cruise season, which started in early December and will be running until June.
The cruise sector in Qatar was first established in 2015. Since then, it has ensured the emergence of Qatar as a luxurious cruise destination for visitors from around the world. The Doha Port is strategically placed at the heart of the country, close to many of Doha’s most iconic landmarks and districts.
Qatar will also be providing visiting FIFA World Cup 2022 fans with accommodation in 4,000 cabins on two ships chartered by MSC cruises.
Qatar Tourism identified the top nationalities that boarded the cruises during the first three months of the season, which included Belgium, Brazil, France, India, Italy, Germany, Spain and the UK.
The trips have seen increasing numbers of passengers coming from other GCC countries, partly thanks to one of Qatar Tourism’s most recent partnerships with Emerald Cruises. The partnership aims to introduce new offerings of super yacht luxury cruises that include eight-day itineraries with stops around the GCC region.
“We are now gearing up to witness a growth in passenger numbers particularly in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 with the opening of a permanent passenger terminal at Doha Port this summer,” said Akbar Al-Baker, Qatar Airways CEO and Qatar Tourism Chairman.
This was achieved despite the challenges the Qatari tourism industry has faced due to the ongoing pandemic. In order to effectively resume cruise activities int he country, Qatar Tourism has cooperated with Qatar Airways, Mwani, the Port Authority, the Ministry of Public Health, alongside other public and private sector partners.
A total of 18 ships have docked at Doha Port at mid season, with 12 additional cruise calls being expected by the end of the season in June.
The growth that the cruise sector is seeing serves as a powerful boost for Qatar by increasing visitor spending in the country and the creation of new jobs and business opportunities.
Visitors at the new temporary passenger terminal receive the same level of services as those at Hamad International Airport. Services and facilities provided include fast immigration and customers, foreign exchange counters, a Duty Free store, and a wide range of city yours and buses among other things.
The grand terminal at the Doha Port is planned to be inaugurated ahead of the World Cup 2022 tournament. will have the capacity to host two mega-ships at the same time. Other various attractions offered will include an aquarium and an art gallery.