During Eid holidays, many citizens of GCC have chosen to visit Qatar and partake in the diverse range of activities and entertainment programs offered throughout the country.
Thousands of citizens from neighbouring GCC states have chosen to spend their Eid holidays in Qatar, attracted by the wide range of activities and entertainment events available throughout the country.
Hundreds of Saudi, Emirati and Bahraini number plates have been spotted across the country as families from the GCC states flocked to Doha to celebrate the annual Eid Al Fitr celebrations.
Hotspots, such as Souq Waqif, Katara and Lusail Boulevard drew in large crowds of tourists, many of whom donned traditional wear that identified their nationalities.
Speaking to Doha News in Souq Waqif, one Saudi tourist said they were thrilled to spend Eid holidays in Qatar.
“We drove in with our family from Riyadh to come and spend Eid with our family in Qatar. Qatar is beautiful and it has developed majorly since the last time we came,” the Saudi man said.
“God willing, we will remain brothers and our doors will stay open for one another,” he added.
Experts and observers in the tourism sector predicted an increase in hotel occupancy rates during the Eid Al-Fitr holiday, which is attributed to several factors, including the launch of the Hayya platform in its new form.
Ahmed Hussein, a tourism specialist, told Qatar News Agency (QNA) that the Hayya platform contributed to the increased number of visitors in Qatar, which is expected to rise from 70 to 80 percent during Eid Al-Fitr holiday.
The remaking and launch of the Hayya platform offers 4 visa types: tourist visa for holders of any nationality, GCC Resident visa for all professions, as well as the visa for escorts of GCC citizens and the electronic Travel Authorization visa known as eTA, which is without restrictions and is for all visa holders and residences of the countries of the Americas, Canada, Schengen countries, Britain, New Zealand and Australia.
Eid al-Fitr festivities in Qatar have also provided a significant boost to the local tourism industry by attracting more foreign visitors, particularly from neighbouring GCC nations, local tourist expert Mosaad Moustafa Eleiwa told Gulf Times.
“We get a lot of bookings from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, and nationals from other Gulf countries this Eid holidays. We also receive many bookings from guests in Europe. People tell us that they love to visit Qatar because it is definitely a luxury destination,” he said.
According to Eleiwa, people from various GCC countries who came to watch the FIFA World Cup 2022 found the Eid holidays an excellent opportunity to explore Qatar’s attractions.
During the tournament, football fans were preoccupied with going to stadiums and had to rest afterward. However, the Eid holidays, which offer a variety of events and activities, have enticed many to return and experience what Qatar has to offer, he added.
Many people also chose Doha as their holiday destination during the current Eid Al-Fitr holiday to enjoy the various entertainment programmes held during the holidays.
Some of the prominent venues for festivities were the Cultural Village Foundation Katara, Souq Waqif, Al Wakra Souq, and several malls across the country, among others.
The events on the first day of Eid included fireworks, music bands, Eid competitions, a show by the Qatar Police Band and several other programmes at different locations.
Tourists have also been given discounted access to unlimited rides at the Lusail Winter Wonderland from April 21 to 28. Additionally, the Al Shaqab Eid Festival, which runs from April 21 to 25, features traditional workshops, horse riding, archery, and Arabian horse parades.
Meanwhile, Qatar Tourism’s ‘Qatar Live’ events have brought some of the biggest Arab singers for three consecutive nights of concerts at QNCC. Egyptian superstar Tamer Hosny, Lebanese singers Marwan Khoury and Najwa Karam, as well as Hams and Balqees drew in mass crowds at the convention centre in Doha in recent days.
Qatar has set a goal to become a top tourist destination worldwide, and aims to attract 6 million visitors every year by 2030.
Recent data from Qatar Tourism shows that the number of visitors to Qatar has significantly increased during the first two months of this year, with a 347 percent growth compared to the same period last year, totalling 730,000 visitors.