Qatar's cruise tourism is witnessing exponential growth with past cruise season recording year-on-year increase of more than 1,000% in the number of cruisers arriving at the shores of Doha.
While in 2015 the country received 4,000 tourists, the number grew significantly and is due to reach 60,000 in 2017.
The first cruise vessel of the season, Seaborne Encore, docked at the port with over 500 passengers onboard during the last week of October. The season, which continues through April 2018, will see a total of 21 ships making a visit to Doha port.
In 2017 there are 5 new ships making their maiden visits to Qatar, and for the first time there'll be two megaships making calls in Doha Port.
Mein Schiff 5 docked at the port on November 22 and marked the arrival of the first mega cruise liner of 2017-2018 season. The German ship is expected to return to Doha 7 more times this season. MSC Splendida, which accommodates 3,900 passengers, is also due to make 6 calls to Doha during the season.
Major development projects are currently underway including the redevelopment of the port into a tourist hub as well as permanent cruise terminal with capacity for 2 mega cruise ships simultaneously. Once the projects are complete, cruise industry is projected to attract more than 500,000 visitors to Qatar and generate QR350 million per year by 2026.