(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Sachin Kumar I The Peninsula
Visitors from European countries have emerged as the largest group of people coming to Qatar in the first quarter of this year. The visitors from Europe occupied 37 percent share in total tourist arrivals, making them the biggest group of tourists coming to Qatar during the quarter.
According to the Planning and Statistics Authority data, 588,072 visitors came to Qatar during the first quarter of 2019, out of which 216,818 visitors came from Europe. Out of the total visitors, around 495,000 visitors came via air while around 93,000 came via sea.
Visitors from Asian countries as they had a share of 35 percent in the total number of visitor arrivals. During the first quarter, 206,203 visitors came to Qatar from Asian countries.
Visitor arrivals measure non-residents travelling to Qatar on a short-term basis for all purposes. It includes arrivals at borders under 15 different visit visa classes, including all business and leisure visa types while excluding work visas.
As per the Planning and Statistics Authority, a visitor is a traveller taking a trip to a main destination outside his usual environment, for less than a year, for any main purpose (business, leisure or other personal purpose) other than to be employed by a resident entity in the country or place visited. A visitor is classified as a tourist, if his trip includes an overnight stay.
'Qatar Airways have increased its connectivity to several European cities in the past two years. Also, number of cruise tourists coming to Qatar has increased substantially in the past few years, a senior official of a tour and travel agency told The Peninsula.
The country witnessed a very successful cruise season the number of cruise tourists as Qatar welcomed a record number of cruise tourists in the 2018-19 season. Doha Port received 144,707 passengers and crew on 44 ships during the season according to Mwani Qatar.
Proactive steps by concerned authorities have also played crucial role in increasing the number of tourists. In 2017, Qatar eased its visa policies and allowed citizens of 80 countries visa-free entry into the country.
Visitors from other regions also grew during the quarter. Share of visitors from GCC countries was 11 percent as 62,909 visitors came from these countries.