Qatar Sees Incredible Surge in Cruise Ship Visitors

By ,   May 24, 2017 ,   Cruise Industry

About 50,000 people visited Qatar through a cruise this season, which is an increase of over 1,000% from 2016, officials announced.

The surge in tourists was helped via an increase in the number of cruise liners coming to Qatar.

Another major factor was the rollout of a new free transit visa for 96 hours for tourists late in 2016. This fact made it easy for any passenger aboard a ship to disembark in Qatar.

Port of Doha

The growth in cruise travellers is a win for Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), that struggled to attract tourists last year because of what it named "increasing competition and political turmoil in the region".

A total of 22 cruise ships and 1 mega-yacht docked at ports in Qatar during the most recent season from October through April. That is more than double the ten ships Qatar welcomed in 2015-2016 season. Only 4,000 passengers were issued tourist visas during that period.

According to the annual report of QTA, authorities are expecting nearly 300,000 cruise visitors during 2019-2020 season.

To help with the goal, a QR 2 billion overhaul of Doha Port is planned, aiming to attract visitors by making it a turnaround port during next cruise season.