Qatar, now the “most open country” in the Middle East and the 8th most open in the world in terms of visa facilitation, has a lot of treasures for tourists hidden for a long time, Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) Secretary General and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker has said.
Al-Baker spoke to journalists recently on the sidelines of the inauguration of Doha Port’s new temporary terminal and the arrival of TUI Mein Schiff 5, which marked the start of the 2019/2020 cruise season in Qatar.
“We have a strategy that is going to completely revamp the way we are going to develop tourism in the country,” al-Baker said. “We have so much treasures in the country for tourists, which were hidden for so long time and we were not marketing ourselves properly but this is all going to change with the new tourism strategy directed by His Highness the Amir.”
“It is my job to deliver on that strategy and hopefully we will succeed and as everything we have to build on a strong foundation,” he stressed.
According to Mwani Qatar, some 74 cruise ships carrying 235,000 passengers are expected to arrive at Doha Port during the 2019/2020 cruise season.
Qatar also witnessed a 100% increase in the number of ships visiting Doha during the 2018/2019 season compared to the same period in the previous season, receiving 44 ships with more than 140,000 passengers.
Mwani Qatar, QNTC, and other stakeholders have been continuously collaborating to deliver world-class services to all passengers and ensuring seamless flows into and out of the Port.
“It is now my mandate and my duty to make sure that what we are doing is going to reap a lot of benefit to the GDP of my country and at the same time to let the public sector participate more with the government sector to improve this very vital industry, which is up to now we are not taking it very seriously,” al-Baker said.
According to QNTC, Doha Port will host 16 turnaround calls, giving passengers ample time to explore the destination. In addition, nine ships will dock overnight during the season.
“A lot of tourists will stay in Doha and then they will transfer on the airplanes on Qatar Airways to go back,” al-Baker said.
It is learnt that some of the popular tourist destinations in the country include Al Zubarah Fort (a World Unesco Heritage site), Katara – the Cultural Village, Museum of Islamic Art, Souq Waqif and Souq Al Wakrah, Mesaieed (Doha Desert and Sea Line), the National Museum of Qatar, Doha Corniche (Dhow cruise) and The Pearl-Qatar, among others.