2022 FIFA World Cup boosts Qatar’s tourism sector, visitor numbers rise 157%
The Middle East’s first-ever FIFA World Cup, which Qatar hosted last year, has really opened up the country to international visitors.
As of August 25, Qatar welcomed over 2.56 million visitors, exceeding the full-year arrival figures witnessed in 2022. The number of visitors so far in 2023 has also marked a 157% increase over the same period last year.
The latest achievement bears testimony to Qatar’s rising global position as a leading tourism destination, thanks to the quadrennial FIFA World Cup which placed the country on the international tourism map.
Qatar’s tourism sector has also been boosted by the extension of the Hayya Card for existing cardholders and the relaunch of the Hayya platform, which is now the go-to portal for travellers who require a visa to enter Qatar.
Visitors to Qatar hail from around the world, with countries in the top 10 being Saudi Arabia, India, Germany, USA, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, UK, UAE, and Pakistan.
Reflecting on the growth of visitor arrivals to Qatar, Chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Akbar Al Baker said: “The growth in the number of international visitors to Qatar shows the fruit of Qatar Tourism’s strategy to leverage the momentum of the world’s biggest sporting event late last year.
“By focusing on our priority markets and through a multi-pronged approach which sees strong efforts and initiatives across our strategic pillars, we’ve been able to welcome visitors from all corners of the globe and showcase Qatar’s seamless blend of modernity and cultural authenticity.”
Over the last few months, Qatar Tourism launched several campaigns and initiatives aimed at boosting Qatar’s tourism sector and raising global awareness of the country’s expanded hospitality offering.
Immediately after the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar Tourism launched its ‘Feel More in Qatar’ global campaign, which positioned Qatar as the Middle East’s top choice for well-travelled tourists, focusing on families.
The brand platform saw seasonal iterations throughout 2023, with ‘Feel Winter in Qatar,’ ‘Feel Eid in Qatar’ and other campaigns targeting various worldwide audiences with travel offers and seasonal activations.
Qatar Tourism has also delved into its business tourism segment, showcasing the country’s premium assets which include its national airline, award-winning airport, brand-new transportation system and suite of conference venues at regional and international travel fairs.
Growing its track record of hosting major events and conferences, Qatar has so far this year held the 9th Annual Destination Planners Congress — the world’s biggest B2B event for destination weddings, the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition – the only B2B and B2C event of its kind in the region, and the UFI MEA Regional Conference – the Middle East’s largest gathering of senior business event professionals, to name a few.
The growth in visitor numbers is also owing to heightened focus on Qatar’s cruise tourism. The country’s newly renovated port is strategically located in the heart of Doha, allowing visitors to make the most out of their short stay in the city.
In the 2022-23 cruise season (end of April close), Qatar Tourism welcomed international ships such as Costa Toscana, AIDAcosma, and Emerald Azzura for the very first time, while MSC Cruises & Costa Cruises offered seven-night itineraries around the Gulf, also for the first time.
In 2022, Qatar inaugurated the state-of-the-art Grand Cruise Terminal which features classic Arabian architecture and is conveniently situated near famous landmarks such as the National Museum of Qatar and Souq Waqif.
Since the start of the year, Qatar Tourism has presented an ongoing calendar of world-class events, from the Qatar GKA Freestyle Kite World Cup 2023 for kitesurfing enthusiasts to Disney-on-Ice for the littlest travellers.
More events are coming up in this year’s Arab Tourism Capital, with the Geneva International Motor Show – Qatar, Formula 1 and Expo 2023 slated for October, and which will be followed by the MotoGP in November.
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