(MENAFN- Gulf Times)
*Qatar Tourism intends to increase the number of visitors to the country to six million annually by 2030
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 would evidently enhance the position of the country on the global tourism map, experts in the field and economists have opined.
Mega projects and impressive infrastructure, including stadiums, hotels, luxurious parks and magnificent landscape have added to the tourist attractions of the country.
The positive momentum in Qatar's tourism sector was reflected in the first half of 2022 with the country remaining a vibrant tourist destination in the region. The number of visitors rose to 729,000 in the first half 2022, registering an increase of 19% over the total number of people who visited Qatar in the whole of 2021. The great accomplishments made recently had been appreciated after His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani received the Arab Tourism Necklace of Excellent Class from Arab Tourism.
Experts pointed out to the announcement made by Qatar Tourism that 50 hotels would open in the coming months boosting Qatar's hospitality sector. Occupancy in the first half of 2022 were virtually back to pre-pandemic levels; 3.1mn hotel nights have been sold in the first six months of 2022, compared to 3.2mn hotel nights in the same period of 2019.
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 fulfill the visitors' aspirations, especially since they can become tourism ambassadors.
Qatar Tourism said the major events that draw visitors to the country included the Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition which is one of the most successful and vital exhibitions in the world, and mega sporting tournaments, including Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix and 2021 FIFA Arab Cup Qatar.
Qatar Tourism told QNA that it intends to increase the number of visitors to the country to 6mn annually by 2030. It said it would adopt a multi-faceted approach to further promote the destination, in addition to boosting cooperation with partners both in the public and private sectors.
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.
He said he expects more than 3mn tourists to visit Qatar by the end of 2022.
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 fastest growing tourist centres and 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.
Al-Ansari added that Qatar's imminent hosting of the FIFA World Cup will play a major role in increasing the number of tourists to the country. 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 attractions.
He stressed that Qatar could transform into a global destination , especially in the post-World Cup era.
FIFA has estimated that about 3bn people would watch the World Cup, which leads al-Ansari to believe that about 40mn people could seek to visit Qatar after the end of the global football event. He said he expected 3mn tourists to visit Qatar in 2023, pointing out that 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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