(MENAFN- The Peninsula) QNA
Doha: The Qatari tourism sector's positive momentum in the first half of 2022 has significantly demonstrated the sector's booming in recent years. The state of Qatar remained a vital tourist destination in the region. The great accomplishments made recently had been substantially translated after HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani received the Arab Tourism Necklace of Excellent Class from Arab Tourism.
The number of tourists in the state rocketed higher in the first half of 2022 with 729,000 visitors. The figure is roughly 19% higher to the total number of people who visited Qatar in the whole of 2021.
Accordingly, experts and economists confirmed that hosting FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 by Qatar would evidently enhance the position of the country on the global tourism map as the state of Qatar embraces mega projects and infrastructure, including hotels, luxurious parks and magnificent landscape, in addition to the essential components to be further in a position to host one of the critical football events in the world.
They pointed out to the announcement made by Qatar Tourism that 50 hotels would open in the coming months in reflection of the good returns of Qatar's hospitality sector. Occupancy in the first half of 2022 was virtually back to pre-pandemic levels; 3.1 million hotel nights have been sold in the first six months of 2022, compared to 3.2 hotel nights in the same period of 2019.
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Qatar Tourism confirmed to Qatar News Agency (QNA) that the anticipated global sporting event would indubitably enhance the country's position as a tourist destination globally, specially that the Middle-East is hosting the competition for the first time ever. It added that expectations for the 2022 edition to be the biggest World Cup ever has prompted Qatar Tourism to continue working with its partners to develop its services, tourist experiences, and the recreational activities to fulfil the visitors' aspirations, especially since they can become tourist ambassadors for the destination by sharing their journey to Qatar with their friends and families during this tournament which is full of suspense and enjoyment.
Qatar Tourism clarified that there are a combination of factors that have contributed to increasing the number of visitors to the state of Qatar, foremost of which are events and tourist exhibitions that have been hosted, including Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition which is one of the most successful and vital exhibitions in the regions and the world as an ideal destination for lovers of luxury and other mega sporting tournaments, including Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix, 2021 FIFA Arab Cup Qatar, et al.
Qatar Tourism also reviewed with (QNA) the tourism strategy set by the state of Qatar, which intends to increase the number of visitors to six million annually by 2030, it also explained the methodology of achieving this objective through adopting a multi-faceted approach to further promote the tourist destination, in addition to boosting cooperation with the partners both in public and private sectors for the sake of developing the products and new tourist experiences that would essentially fulfill the excellence of service program, as well as intensifying the efforts and coordination with the partners to achieve a secure and sustainable recovery for the tourist sector in the state of Qatar.
Within the same context, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Tourist travel company, Ahmed Hussein said in a statement to QNA that the significant surge in the number of visitors to Qatar can be attributed to a number of reasons; Qatar's ability to reign in the COVID-19 pandemic; the development of the country's comprehensive infrastructure in the tourism sector; the establishment of new hospitality, shopping, cultural and educational facilities.
Hussein also highlighted the increase in the number of airlines operating in Qatar and the return of Gulf visitors as well as the close connection between the rise in the number of tourists, and the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, stressing that Qatar's hosting of the World Cup will put the country on the world tourism map.
Hussein said he expects more than 3 million tourists to visit Qatar by the end of 2022, noting that many visitors will attend to watch the events related to the World Cup, not just the championship itself, especially with Qatar granting visa-free entry for visitors of 80 countries.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of Just real estate company, Nasser Hassan Al Ansari, ascribed the rise in the number of visitors to Qatar to the fact that Doha has become one of the most famous and fastest growing tourist destinations for its excellent tourist infrastructure, hotel systems with world-class brands, various museums, heritage and modern markets, as well as a distinguished road network, a modern airport that is the best in the Middle East, and a 5-star airline.
Speaking to QNA, Al Ansari added that Qatar's imminent hosting of the FIFA World Cup will play a major role from now in increasing the number of tourists to the country, especially with promotional campaigns for tourism in Qatar closely associated with the forthcoming huge sporting event. He further noted that Qatar's prestigious global position in various political, economic and security fields has made it a capital of peace and security and a global tourist destination, especially with its focus on boosting Arab heritage and identity, consolidating Islamic customs and values, and promoting the concept of history through Museums and many other destinations.
The number of visitors and tourists to Qatar will double with the approach of the World Cup Championship, he noted. He stressed that Qatar could transform into a global regional destination that appeals to tourists, especially in the post-World Cup era.
FIFA President said earlier that just shy of 3 billion people would watch the World Cup, which leads Al Ansari to believe that about 40 million people could seek to visit Qatar again after the end of the global football event. Al Ansari added expected that 3 million tourists would visit Qatar in 2023, pointing out Qatar's focus on family tourism, conference tourism, medical and sports tourism, will constitute an important addition to the Qatari economy and create many investment opportunities.
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