Exchange houses are gearing up for brisk business as inbound and outbound tourism is expected to push demand for foreign currencies following Qatar’s implementation of a new travel policy, an industry expert has said.
Dr Zubair Abdulrahman, operations manager of Al Zaman Exchange, said tourism is among the factors driving the surge in foreign exchange activity as more citizens and residents started travelling abroad for the Eid holidays and family vacations.
“The lifting of the mandatory hotel quarantine for arriving passengers to Qatar and Phase 3 of the government’s Covid-19 protocols, which allows more movement of people outdoors, as well as US dollar fund availability in the banks, have created a positive impact on the exchange houses industry,” Abdulrahman told Gulf Times yesterday.
As more people are making the most of the gradual easing of Covid-19 restrictions, Abdulrahman also noted that exchange houses are witnessing a “more than 50%” increase in transactions compared to the same period last year when coronavirus infection cases were on the rise.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, many people are anxious to go out and governments worldwide have applied Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns, so this created a huge impact on the volume of transactions.
“However, people learned to live and cope with the conditions under the new normal and exchange houses adjusted to the situation to continue the business and maintain operations,” he explained.
Abdulrahman lauded the efforts of the Ministry of Public Health for its “excellent” vaccination campaign, the healthcare provided for infected patients, and the measures implemented to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the country.
“With more people getting fully vaccinated, this has provided both our staff and customers the confidence to transact business in our branches,” Abdulrahman also pointed out.
According to Abdulrahman, the Eid al-Adha celebrations also provided an uptick in remittance outflow from Qatar as many residents sent money back to their home countries during the holiday period.
Countries like India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Egypt, and the Philippines were among those that received remittances from Qatar.
Abdulrahman also said Al Zaman Exchange is further strengthening its digital platforms to expand its reach and services.
He stressed that customers have been maximising the use of mobile apps and company websites when sending remittances and other transactions.
“Our digital platforms are performing well because many people now have become tech-savvy, and since the pandemic, they have realised the safety and convenience of using technology for their financial transactions,” he added.
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