*QTA leads Qatar delegation to Berlin for ITB 2018 amid growing popularity
Qatar welcomed nearly 59,000 visitors from German-speaking markets in 2017, an 18% increase compared to the previous year and 12% of all European arrivals, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has said.
QTA noted that 2018 is off to a strong start, recording an average of 84% increase in visitors arrivals from the same markets in January and February compared to the same periods last year.
Such increase can be linked to the sharp rise in cruise arrivals and more visitors availing of the free 96-hour transit visa.
QTA added that the country’s recent visa policy changes allowed German, Austrian and Swiss citizens to enter Qatar visa free.
The visa waiver is valid for 180 days from the date of issuance and entitles its holder to spend up to 90 days in Qatar, during either a single trip or on multiple trips.
In addition, the five-star national carrier, Qatar Airways, has 35 direct flights connecting Doha to five major cities in Germany, Ausria and Switzerland every week.
“Since our last presence at the Internationale Tourism Borse (ITB) Berlin in 2017, Qatar has taken big strides in developing its tourism sector to further diversify the country’s visitor source markets and products to create a seamless journey to, from and within Qatar,” said QTA’s chief marketing and promotion officer Rashed al-Qurese.
He was attending the ITB in Berlin, Germany with other senior QTA officials to showcase the country as the most open in its region, welcoming the world to experience unique offerings in sports, culture, family entertainment and business.
“Together with our industry partners at the Borse, we are working to provide German-speaking trade with an effective ‘one-stop shop’ for conducting business with our tourism sector,” al-Qurese said.
“We are particularly pleased to see our new strategy yield promising results in visitor growth from European markets and Germany in particular,” he added.
The Qatar delegation, consisting of 23 tourism sector partners including some of the country’s leading hotels, local tour operators and other tourism service providers, is present at Europe’s biggest travel show running until March 11.
Qatar’s pavilion at the ITB Berlin was opened on March 7 and visited by Qatar’s ambassador to Germany, Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman al-Thani.