Industry experts believe the increase in tourists exhibits the fact that Doha is among the fastest growing tourist destinations.
Qatar’s Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani received on Tuesday the Arab Tourism Necklace of Excellent Class for pioneering the growth of the country’s tourism sector.
According to the Amiri Diwan, the Qatari leader received the award from the Arab Tourism Organization, represented by the body’s President Dr. Bandar Al Fahid in Doha. The award also recognises the Gulf state’s overall role in the sector.
The award comes as Qatar gears up to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup later this year, where at least 1.5 million people are expected to flock to the Gulf state for the tournament.
While the World Cup has solidified Qatar’s position in the world of sports, its tourism sector placed it on the world tourism map.
Figures by Qatar’s Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA), cited by Al Jazeera, showed Doha received more than 145,600 visitors in June, marking a growth of 499.5% in comparison to last year’s 24,200 in the same period.
Meanwhile, figures in the Gulf sector ranged around 59,620, followed by Asian countries and Oceania with roughly 33,790 visitors. Europe, a key tourist hotspot, has also witnessed up to 24,500 visitors.
Describing the significant growth to Al Jazeera, Saeed Al Hajri, head of a tourism company, said that the increase exhibits the fact that Doha is among the fastest growing tourist destinations.
Al Hajri attributed the rise to curiosity by foreigners wanting to learn about Qatar before the major sporting event. The Hamad International Airport (HIA) has also enabled Qatar to lead the sector and efforts by Qatar Tourism.
For economist Abullah Al Khater, another factor behind the growth could be the resumption of pre-Covid-19 travel after the outbreak paralysed the aviation sector globally.
Al Baker noted that the Doha International Airport is expected to process between 5,000 and 6,000 football fans per day, while HIA will handle between 8,000 and 10,000 per day.
This comes following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Qatar Airways and four Gulf Airlines to facilitate the movement of fans from and to the nation.
According to the agreement, Flydubai is set to bring up to 2,700 fans per day with 30 daily rotations, while Kuwait Airways will bring 1,700 fans with 10 daily rotations.
Saudi Arabia will bring the highest number of fans, agreeing to 10,000 fans with up to 30 daily rotations. Finally, Oman Air will bring 3,400 fans with 24 daily rotations.
Qatar previously witnessed a significant rise in the number of Gulf and European visitors in March.
The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) visitors increased to 34.5% of the total visitors to the country, recording 52,691 from the Gulf, compared to 18,610 in February 2022 and just 2,670 in March 2021.
The numbers indicate a whopping 1,873.4% increase compared to last year and a month-on-month increase of 183.1%. Outside the region, visitors from Europe were the second largest after GCC in March with 37,490 visitors, compared to just over 20,000 visitors in the month before.