Qatar’s inbound tourism bounces back

September 21, 2021

Doha: Inbound tourism is witnessing strong demand as the country has started seeing strong inflow of tourists from neighbouring countries. With arrival of tourists, the demand for rooms in hotels and resorts has also gone up, say tour and travel agents.

“We are seeing surge of enquiries and bookings of hotels and resorts from tourists from neighbouring countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Arrival of tourists has also increased the demand for other related services, especially activities such as scuba diving, kayaking, paddling and other outdoor leisure activities,” Zaheer Yousuf, Head of Rayan Travel & Tours told The Peninsula. Easing of travel requirements and drastic fall in the COVID-19 cases due to high vaccination rate have instilled confidence among travelers,” added Yousuf.

One of the main factors behind increase in number of tourists is reopening of Saudi border and normalisation of relations between Qatar and its neighbours. Members of many families were unable to meet their relatives in the past couple of years. With opening of borders many people from Saudi Arabia are coming to their relatives in Qatar, said Yousuf.

Having remained confined to their homes due to COVID-19 restrictions for several months, travelling is now at the top of to-do list of tourists. The reopening of Qatar’s borders and sharp fall in coronavirus cases due to rising vaccination rate has prompted the visitors to chart travel plans.

Going forward, the situation is going to get better for the country’s tourism sector. Seasonality is a crucial factor that will also help in bringing more tourists to the country. “With the onset of winter, as weather becomes favourable to excursions, we are expecting further increase in the arrival of tourists from foreign countries. Historically, Qatar has always witnessed surge in tourists during the winter season. Also, many cultural and entertainment activities are organised during the winter season, which play important role in attracting tourists,” added Yousuf.

According to the Qatar Tourism data, Qatar’s hospitality sector (excluding properties utilised for quarantine purposes) has recorded a 7 percent increase in overall occupancy rates in the first of this year compared to the same period last year.

The occupancy rate averaged 60 percent during the first half of 2021, compared to 55 percent in the first half of 2020. In addition to the reopening of the country’s borders, high vaccination rates, the issuance of approvals for hosting and organizing events and necessary business activity, will support the gradual recovery of Qatar’s tourism.

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