Exchange houses are bracing for a surge in demand for foreign currencies following the gradual easing of Covid-19 measures and revision of the country's travel and return policy, which has prompted many citizens and residents of Qatar to travel abroad.
While a number of countries are allowing quarantine-free holidays for vaccinated visitors from Qatar and elsewhere, the easing of hotel quarantine rules in Qatar has also led to a spike in the demand for travel, it is learnt.
Trust Exchange general manager K N S Das lauded the measures undertaken by the Government of Qatar to curb the spread of Covid-19 and for spearheading a massive and successful vaccination campaign.
These developments, he said, have ushered in a variety of changes in the market: “As Covid-19 restrictions continue to be relaxed and there is more movement in the community, people are starting to travel, hence the currency business has witnessed an uptick this month,” Das told Gulf Times yesterday.
He said, “Because more people are embarking on travel, there has been a tendency to take more foreign currencies and the result is good. We are preparing for this surge and that is why we are importing foreign currencies to address the needs of the public.”
Among the major currencies that are in demand are the US dollar and the euro, as well as the Turkish lira, pointed out Das, who added that Asian currencies “are slightly” picking up demand, as well.
Long queues of travellers could already be seen outside many exchange houses in malls and elsewhere, said a source familiar with these developments. "People are able to travel now thanks to vaccination, testing and compliance with Covid-19 protocols. Hence, there has been a corresponding rise in the demand for foreign currencies and people could be seen lining up outside these exchange houses," he added.
Earlier this month, the authorities announced the start of Phase 3 of the gradual lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in the country. Many residents, as well as major stakeholders and players in the business community, welcomed the announcement.
Under Phase 3, private healthcare facilities are now allowed to operate in full capacity. Other rules include “allowing children in cinemas subject to conditions, increasing the capacity of Doha Metro and public transport, driving schools, wedding halls, barbershops, amusement parks, entertainment centres, museums, libraries, nurseries, educational centres and private training centres, and allowing more people in a group to gather in parks and on beaches and opening playgrounds and exercising equipment there”, it was reported earlier.
“Our business depends on the actions and activities of people, so these recent developments and changes in health and safety protocols for Covid-19 had spurred a lot of movement in the markets, which is why the industry stands to gain from all of this," said Das.
“The more that money comes to the hands of workers, the more business we get. In the same way, the more affluent lot who want to travel take foreign currencies, which is why we are expecting a surge in demand. All these recent government decisions have been advantageous for exchange houses,” he added.