Qatar underlines its ‘tourist-friendly destination’ status with record-breaking numbers
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was a landmark event which brought the world’s biggest competition to the Middle East for the first time. In addition to being a landmark event, it also showcased the country’s beauty and tourism potential to the whole world.
According to the latest statistics, a record number of travellers are visiting Qatar even months after the end of the mega tournament. The country welcomed a total of 730,000 visitors in January and February 2023, marking a whopping increase of 347% from the previous year.
While January saw 340,000 international visitors to Qatar, a jump of 295% year on year, February had 389,000 visitors, a staggering 406% increase from the same period last year.
The February numbers were the highest international arrivals in Qatar in the past 10 years (barring the months of the 2022 FIFA World Cup), making it the busiest month for tourism in the country.
While festivities and programmes surrounding Qatar Tourism’s ‘Feel Winter in Qatar’ campaign helped drive the numbers, the celebrations of Kuwait National Day and Saudi Founding Day in February also attracted many travellers from those countries.
Qatar Live 2023 also held a number of major events and concerts in the country, with more in the pipeline.
Around 86,000 people from Saudi Arabia and 20,000 from Kuwait visited Qatar in February, together constituting 73% of all arrivals from GCC and 27% of all international arrivals in February. In fact, visitors from Saudi Arabia made up 22% of all visitors to Qatar in January and February.
Doha, which was chosen as the Arab Tourism Capital of the year, had also hosted several world-class sporting events including the Visit Qatar GKA Freestyle Kite World Cup 2023, Qatar TotalEnergies Open and the Qatar ExxonMobil Open tennis tournaments.
Qatar Tourism’s Chief Operating Officer Berthold Trenkel was thrilled with the record number of visitors to the country.
“We’re excited to see the progress we’ve made towards achieving our 2030 strategy, which aims to welcome six to seven million visitors annually, increase employment in the sector and have tourism account for 12% of the country’s GDP,” he said.
“Our performance also highlights Qatar’s growing reputation as a world-class destination for travellers seeking unique experiences and is a testament to the success of our ‘Feel Winter in Qatar’ campaign and ‘Feel More’ brand platform which has resonated with families worldwide. This record-breaking achievement galvanises us even further to continue to innovate and provide unforgettable experiences for our visitors,” added Trenkel.
Qatar Tourism’s ‘Feel Winter in Qatar’ event had included events such as the Qatar Balloon Festival, which painted Doha’s skies with over 50 hot air balloons, and Disney Princess The Concert.
The Hamad International Airport, which welcomed many visitors to the country, had recently been in the news when it was chosen as the Middle East’s Best Airport by Skytrax for the ninth year in a row.
The Hamad International Airport (HIA) recently underwent a major expansion, setting up an indoor tropical garden called the ORCHARD along with new lounges and exclusive retail outlets.
In 2022, the HIA had witnessed a huge spike in passenger traffic, welcoming over 35 million travellers, which translated to a 101.9% Year-on-Year surge. It saw a 164% increase in passenger traffic in the second quarter of 2022 alone.
The airport saw an increase in overall aircraft movements of 217,875, a 28.2% growth compared to 2021, and concluded 2022 with 44 airline partners operating to and from Hamad International Airport – serving over 170 destinations around the world.
HIA, in addition to launching next-generation Wi-Fi services across its state-of-the-art terminal, had also opened the world’s first-ever FIFA Store at the Qatar Duty Free.
Qatar Airways recently became the Global Partner and Official Airline of Formula 1, considered the pinnacle of motorsport and the world’s most technologically advanced racing series, until the 2027 season.
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