Many Qataris will be spending their Eid al-Fitr holidays in Turkey and some European countries, officials of leading travel agencies in Doha have said.
Istanbul continues to attract holiday-goers from Qatar for many reasons not only during Eids but all year-round, a travel agent told Gulf Times.
“This destination is very much appealing to visitors from this region because of its numerous offerings,” she said. “Name it, food, shopping, nature, rich history and cultural heritage, and many more, that is why people keep coming back.”
Besides Istanbul, she added that countries such as the UK, Germany, Switzerland, France and Italy are also among the top choices of Qataris to spend their vacation this coming Eid.
She pointed out that they have been receiving more flight and hotel bookings to Turkey and Europe than to the usual places within the region this year.
The UK, especially London, always topped the list of preferred holiday destinations of Qataris followed by Paris (France) and various places in Germany, Switzerland and Italy, she said.
A travel agent from another company echoed the same view saying that Istanbul has been attracting many Qatari travellers even during the start of this year.
“We always have bookings for Istanbul every year, although there was a significant decrease last year because of the attacks. But now, more tourists are travelling there again,” he said.
For the UK, he noted that Qataris take advantage of the use of the Electronic Visa Waiver to enter the country, which only requires them to register at least 48 hours in advance or earlier before their flight.
However, these travel agencies said they recorded a drop in the number of flight and hotel bookings for the Eid al-Fitr holidays compared to their figures in 2016 in the same period.
“So far our bookings right now is more than 65% less than last year,” a travel agent told Gulf Times, expressing optimism that the number will increase in the coming days.
Another travel agent also noted that they recorded a 60% decrease in the number of flight bookings this year, also for the Eid al-Fitr holidays.
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