Data shows more Qataris travelling to Southeast Asia
April 09 2016 12:57 AM

By Joey Aguilar/Staff Reporter

An increasing number of Qataris are travelling to London and Southeast Asian countries, according to the data from many travel agencies in Doha.
While London remains to be one of the top destinations for Qataris, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are among the other top favourites, a supervisor of a leading travel agency told Gulf Times.
“These countries have become attractive tourism and business destinations for many Qataris,” he explained. The agency has also received a lot of advanced bookings early this year, mostly from Qatari families who intend to travel to Southeast Asian countries.
Another travel agency shared the same observation saying its bookings to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand have been constantly increasing annually.
The readily available Halal food is one common denominator of these three countries that keeps on attracting Qataris and other GCC nationals, it noted.
Malaysian ambassador Ahmad Jazri Mohd Johar echoed this statement citing the numerous restaurants, outlets and hotels that serve Halal food.
Besides being ranked as the world’s number one Muslim-friendly holiday destination by Singapore-based consultancy group Crescentrating, he said the Southeast Asian country also has modern tourism
“These are what Qataris and other tourists are looking for and they keep coming back,” he stressed. “They also feel safe and secured as they travel from one place to another using developed infrastructure and
Johar added that having the same religion and almost similar culture with Qatar give Muslim tourists the ease and comfort in exploring the
different places in Malaysia.
The envoy said he expects the number of visitors from Qatar and other GCC countries to increase further this year and in the coming years.
The number of Qataris travelling to Thailand has been increasing annually, according to the Thai embassy in Doha.
Some 40,189 Qatar residents, including 29,758 Qataris, visited Thailand in 2015, marking a 21.54% increase compared to 31,534 tourists in 2014.
The Thai embassy said the high class medical core industry and one-stop-attraction for foreigners ranging from natural beauty, traditional, cultural and festivals throughout the year, traditional Thai spa, adventurous activities, and sports are the main reasons for the growing number of tourists to Thailand.
“Reasonable cost of living, wide range of accommodation choices, availability of Halal food, convenient transportation and especially the Thai hospitality are the strong supporting factor that help drew new visitor and repeated tourists
to our country,” it added.
The two travel agencies also see an increasing number of Qataris who book flights to
Singapore regularly.
The Singaporean embassy in Doha has observed a steady increase in the number of Qataris visiting Singapore annually mostly mainly to attend business meetings and conferences.
“Singapore is a preferred place for business tourists as we are a key centre for conventions and events,” it said. “Many Qataris visit Singapore to attend such events, as trade and business links between both countries increase over the years.”
Singapore is known for its luxury hospitality that includes easily available Halal food in many well-known restaurants and five-star hotels.
The country is also known to be the world’s second most competitive country, least corrupt and bureaucratic country in Asia, easiest place to do business and second most
innovative country in Asia.
“Our reputation above is important in the long term, but the primary reason is still Singapore’s economic hub status which is relevant to Qataris and businesses,” an embassy official noted. The embassy recorded 12,777 visitor arrivals last year, a 4.1% increase from the previous year.

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