Qatar, Ideal Tourist Destination Where Authenticity Meets Present and Future
In the past few years, the State of Qatar has become an ideal tourist destination and one of the most favored destinations for visitors who seek diversified experiences where the authenticity of the past meets the present and the future.
Qatar has all the elements of tourist attractions that suit various cultures, which are represented in its natural reserves, ancient castles, a chain of international hotels and resorts, public gardens and parks, restaurants, traditional local markets, and grand malls. Qatar is also seen as one of the worlds safest tourist destinations, and its visitors have the chance to explore the authenticity, welcomeness, and hospitality that characterize the Arab culture of the country.
Qatar's efforts in the tourism sector were further enhanced when Doha was chosen as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2023 by the Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism in February, a testimony to the impressive levels presented by Qatar in entertainment and hospitality sectors with ambitions of attracting six million visitors annually by 2030.
To support that direction, the Ministry of Interior (MOI) extended the validity of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 fans and organizers Hayya card until Jan 24, 2024, which allows the Hayya Card holders to use the "Hayya with me" service to 'Hayya with Me' feature, which allows Hayya card holders to invite up to three family members or friends, a multiple-entry permit to the country, and the use of the e-Gate system for entry and exit via state ports, while no fees are required, which is seen as a major step to strengthen the tourism sector.
Qatar has placed the tourism sector as one of the five priority sectors within the Qatar National Strategy and Qatar National Vision 2030, through which it is possible to build a more diversified economy and enhance the private sector's contribution to it. In this regard, Qatar relies on its strategic geographical location as flying hours from many of the world's major capitals are only 6 to 7 hours.
The advantage of the easy access is one of the pillars of tourist attractions in the State of Qatar, as 80% of the world's population can reach Qatar after a flight of no more than 6 hours, while more than two-thirds of the world's population can enter Qatar without a visa, under the slogan: the State of Qatar welcomes the world.
The national carrier of the State of Qatar and winner of the highest world aviation awards, Qatar Airways, operates flights to more than 150 destinations around the world, which include the most important capitals of the world in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, as well as North and South Americas. Meanwhile, Hamad International Airport also provides its services for more than 50 international airlines.
Tourism offers vary in 6 areas: coastal tourism, desert tourism, cultural tourism, exhibition and conference tourism, sports tourism, family and urban leisure tourism, and marine tourism, to ensure the balance between supply and demand in the hospitality sector and diversify tourist accommodation options.
Since winning the bid for organizing the FIFA World Cup 2022, the State of Qatar has been keen to achieve a comprehensive renaissance as providing the tourism sector with sufficient and necessary competencies and cadres as one of its bedrocks.
In addition, Qatar encouraged international investments by simplifying procedures as a main pillar for the advancement and development of the tourism industry in a way that guarantees the provision of the most unique and diversified experiences for its visitors. As a result, the investors had a unique competitive advantage to set up their companies, being at the forefront of companies entering a fast-growing market.
Qatar Tourism Authority worked for a decade as a liaison and coordination link between investors, local and international companies, and relevant government agencies in the tourism sector. The electronic licensing system was launched as part of the "single window" initiative, which provides all government services that the investor needs in one place, ensuring the acceleration of tourism transactions.
In this regard, Journalist and Economic Academic Dr. Abdulrahim Al Hour praised, in his remarks to Qatar News Agency (QNA), the qualitative shift achieved by Qatars tourism sector in recent years and the accompanying remarkable development in terms of diversifying the facilities of such an important vital sector, as well as preparing and strengthening its infrastructure to make it more comprehensive and responsive for the aspirations of tourists in their different categories, such as hotel, educational, medical, sports and cultural tourism, as well as conference and seminar tourism.
Al Hour called for concerted efforts to employ these successes in maximizing the gains of the tourism sector and building on them to provide integrated and diversified tourism services at competitive prices that add more momentum to the sector's operations and enhance its gains. He stressed that the State of Qatar had made great strides in this field and now occupies a prominent position on the global tourism map.
He pointed out the transformation of the global tourism concept from competitive to complementary.
To achieve that, it is necessary to move forward in this direction to make it an attractive sector for various tourists from outside the region, similar to the success of the State of Qatar in attracting regional tourists, especially those coming from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, due to the uniqueness of family tourism, in addition to the close geographical location.
At the local level, Dr. Al Hour believes that it is necessary to support the tourism sector with a distinctive package of services at preferential prices, which contribute to attracting the general population of the country and encouraging them to turn to it to ensure the continuity of operating tourism facilities throughout the year.
In a related context, Financial Analyst Waleed Al Fuqaha stressed in his remarks to QNA the importance of the role of Qatars tourism sector in diversifying the national economic base and its contribution to enhancing the gross domestic production (GDP) as Qatar is currently focusing on improving the contribution of this sector in its economic direction, as well as raising its contribution to about 12 percent by 2030.
He indicated that this sector has recently recorded remarkable success in accommodating the increasing numbers of visitors to the State of Qatar and those flocked to it to attend the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 matches.
Al Fuqaha added that the well-thought-out preparation for the various types of entertainment events that the country holds throughout the year has contributed to attracting more tourists and has also led to enhancing the competitiveness of Qatars tourism sector, which has a clear and distinct presence.
The maritime tourism sector in the State of Qatar attracts more than 100,000 visitors annually, especially after the opening of various beaches and providing them with specialized modern equipment and buildings. The vital location of Doha Port allows visitors to start exploring the most beautiful sights in the country as soon as their ships arrive.
After the development project it underwent, Doha Port became a permanent port to receive tourist ships and one of the tourist attractions in the heart of Doha with a capacity that allows receiving two giant vessels at the same time. Tourism companies expect the tourism sector will attract 500,000 visitors boarded by tourism ships by 2026.
The port is distinguished by being a few minutes away from most of the citys tourist sites, including Souq Waqif, the Museum of Islamic Art, the Doha Corniche, the National Museum of Qatar and the Katara Cultural Village, as well as the Pearl and Lusail cities, which enjoy luxurious leisure facilities, in addition to providing specialized boats for a free visit to Banana Island.
For lovers of relaxation on the sand and the sea, the State of Qatar has developed several distinct beaches on the Gulf, including the Sealine Beach Resort in southern Mesaieed, which offers its visitors a unique experience that combines relaxation and adventure through water sports, desert safari trips, horse and camel riding, in addition to beach volleyball. The resort is located near Khor Al Adaid Beach, which is considered as one of the few places in the world where the sand dunes meet the sea.
On the northern side of Qatar, Qatar Tourism Authority opened Fuwairit Beach for water sports and windsurfing before the World Cup, in addition to providing distinguished trips for eco-tourism lovers by visiting the Zhakhira natural reserve, which provides kayak trips to visit the purple island and access to mangroves and natural bird reserves. Not to mention the historic castle tour that takes their lovers to the historical forts of Zubarah and Zekreet.
In addition, the State of Qatar hosts more than 80 sporting events and world championships annually in many sports fields. Qatar wrote its name in the records of sports history as the first country in the Middle East to have the honor of hosting the World Athletics Championships (2019) and the World Corporate Games (2019), in addition to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, as well as the 2023 FINA World Championships.