Over 1.2 million visitors are expected to flock to the country in Q4 to attend the grand FIFA 2022 World Cup.
Qatar has seen a rise of about seven times in the number of visitors flocking to the country during the first quarter of 2022 compared to the previous years, Qatar Tourism (QT) has announced.
New data showed that January and March 2022 alone saw 316,000 visitors to the Gulf nation, compared to 2020 (581,000) and 2021 (611,000) full-year figures.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic in 2019, the total number of visitors reached a total of 2.1 million.
Numbers are still expected to increase even more in the second half of the year, QT Chief Operating Officer Berthold Trenkel said, with an even more promising ending by Q4 following the much-awaited FIFA 2022 World Cup.
Currently, the country offers visa-free access to over 95 countries, and a 96-hour free transit visa is being re-activated soon. This aims to enhance the tourism sector and attract more tourists to Doha, even before the major football event.
“I am confident that this year and beyond, working together, we will continue to go from strength to strength, and will see the launch of several projects that will attract visitors to Qatar well beyond the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” Trenkel said during the annual Tourism Industry Ramadan Ghabga.
The remarks were made during the event in the presence of several high officials, including QT Chairman and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, along with other officials and distinguished guests from the public and private organisations.
The country’s tourism authorities have an ambitious but achievable vision and strategy for 2030 that will greatly spiral the number of visitors to Doha threefold, in addition to growing the travel and tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP from seven to 12%.
Trenkel also emphasised that the country aims to double the employment in the tourism sector namely in, including active holidays, relaxation and rejuvenation, sun, sea, and sand, cultural enthusiasts, luxury city breaks, and romantic getaways.
Accommodation: how will it cater to the demand?
Qatar is currently working on opening 50 new hotels by the end of 2022 to accommodate the rising number of travellers, given the hopeful numbers in the first quarter of this year.
Last Friday, the 1,000,000m² Place Vendome opened its doors to the public. The building hosts two five-star luxury hotels, serviced apartments, and a grand mall featuring up to 600 different retail outlets.
Officials also said last year that 16 floating hotels will be built in Qatar, providing almost 1,600 rooms in total.
“We are entering an exciting new chapter after a period of great difficulty in the tourism industry, thanks to the collaborative efforts and support from the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH),” said QT Chairman and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker.
“We have successfully resumed all tourism activity in time to host the highly awaited FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and we have an exciting line-up of events for residents and visitors to Qatar to enjoy.”
Qatar’s historic hosting of the FIFA World Cup next year is hoped to bring the Gulf state over 1.2 million visitors.
The global event will mark the first such major tournament to be held in the Middle East region.