(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Irfan Bukhari / The Peninsula
With Qatar's push to cement a position as a preferred tourist destination, the cruise tourism sector is witnessing a strong growth with thousands of tourists visited the country aboard 14 cruise ships which docked at Doha Port since the start of the season on October 2.
This season, which will continue until May 2019, is set to be the busiest one since the development of the cruise tourism sector in Qatar as more than 140,000 visitors in 43 cruise ships are expected to dock at Doha Port during this season, according to Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).
On Thursday cruise ship MSC Lirica docked at Doha Port on its third visit during the ongoing 2018-19 cruise season with 1,853 passengers and 734 crew aboard.
QTA and the Mowasalat recently signed an MoU to develop tourism transport and enhance transport and communication services to cope with the rapid growth in the cruise tourism sector and to support QTA's efforts to develop the tourism sector in general.
On December 19, cruise ship AIDAPrima arrived at Doha Port on its second voyage, carrying 3,358 passengers and 955 crew members. Qatar welcomed the cruise ship MSC Splendida on its first trip on December 13, carrying a total of 3,442 passengers and 1,307 crew members.
The German mega ship AIDAPrima called on December 12 at Doha Port, on its maiden voyage to Qatar, with 3,286 passengers and 956 crew aboard. Qatar welcomed for the second time two mega cruise ships simultaneously on December 5. The two ships MSC Lirica and Mein Schiff 4 brought more than 6,000 visitors.
On December 4, Celebrity Constellation sailed into Doha Port on its second visit, carrying a total of 1,754 passengers and 957 crew members.
The cruise ship ‘Seabourn Ovation' with 562 tourists and 424 crew onboard called into Doha Port on its maiden call to Qatar on December 3.
Earlier in the last month, MSC Lirica arrived at Doha Port, marking its maiden call to Qatar with more than 3,500 visitors aboard on November 28.
On the same day Doha Port received cruise ship Celebrity Constellation on its first trip to Qatar bringing more than 2,800 visitors. And by welcoming two ships, the 2018-'19 cruise season saw first time Doha Port receiving two mega cruise ships simultaneously.
The docking of two mega-ships simultaneously will happen five times during the season, proving the Port's ability to accommodate the cruise tourism sector's rapid growth.
On November 21, Doha Port received the cruise ship Mein Schiff 4 on its 2nd visit during the 2018-19 season, carrying 2471 passengers and 988 crew.
Qatar welcomed cruise ship Seabourn Encore with 559 passengers and 424 crew onboard on November 10. On November 8, cruise ship Mein Schiff 4 docked at Doha Port. Doha Port received on November 5 cruise ship Azamara Quest on its maiden call to Qatar. On October 2, cruise ship MS Boudicca arrived and it marked the commencement of the 2018-19 cruise season with 491 passengers.