Current cruise season in Qatar expected to be busiest with the arrival of 78 cruises

Current cruise season in Qatar expected to be busiest with the arrival of 78 cruises By Darlene Regis - December 07, 2021
Current cruise season in Qatar expected to be busiest with arrival of 78 cruises

First cruise ship of season arrives in Qatar on December 2

78 cruise liners expected to bring tourists to Gulf state from December to April

Qatar expects to have the “busiest” cruise season during the winter months, with dozens of vessels bringing thousands of tourists scheduled to dock in the Gulf state beginning this month until early next year, officials said on Sunday.

The current cruise season in Qatar is expected to be the busiest, with the arrival of around 78 cruises, according to Qatar Tourism Chairman Akbar Al Baker and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker.

He said: “This includes 11 cruise ships making maiden voyages to Doha, 11 turnaround voyages and 10 ships that will dock in Doha Port. With the opening of the permanent passenger terminal at Doha Port, we expect to witness a growth in cruise visits in the coming period, particularly in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”

On Sunday, Qatar Tourism and Mwani Qatar, the organisations responsible for managing the country’s shipping terminals and seaports, announced the return of cruise tourism with the start of the 2021-2022 season. MSC Virtuosa made its first voyage to Qatar on 2 December, bringing around 4,600 visitors to Doha.

The return of cruise tourism comes as Qatar resumes holding in-person events and festivals. The winter season will also be “particularly busy” in Qatar, as several in-person events have already been lined up, including the FIFA Arab Cup, Qatar International Food Festival 2021, Qatar Live Festival and Light and Laser shows. 

Al Baker stated: “The return of cruise tourism is a testament to the tremendous efforts of all our partners and helps put us firmly back on the path of travel recovery.”

He added: “Cruise is an important subsector of tourism, allowing large numbers of visitors to discover Doha and its offerings within a short period, turning them into ambassadors of the destination and contributing to increased tourism spend.”

The 2019-2020 cruise season witnessed the opening of the temporary passenger terminal spanning on an area of 6,000 sq. metres.

Doha Port has also completed several development works contributing to promoting the growth of cruise tourism, supporting Qatar Tourism’s efforts to attract international cruise ships and companies and strengthening Qatar’s position on the cruise destinations map in the region.

Restart of Activities

Mwani Qatar CEO Capt. Abdulla Mohamed Al Khanji said: “We are pleased with the successful restart of activities of cruise tourism and returning to receive visitors and guests at Doha Port after a 19-month absence due to Covid-19 limitations.”

He added: “Qatar’s popularity as an attractive tourist destination in the region is increasing year after year, as the number of cruises and passengers has increased by more than six times in less than five seasons.”

The cruise tourism sector has achieved continuous and remarkable growth in the years prior to the pandemic, with collaboration among public and private sector partners.

By Darlene Regis - December 07, 2021

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