Qatar continues to witness a huge demand for both inbound and outbound travel even during the summer, which is evidently an off-season for tourism in the country and the region, an industry expert has said.
“The demand this year for summer is soaring high with bookings pouring in from all ends whether it is travel to back home or exotic vacations. Since the pandemic, this is the first summer which is looking extremely promising,” Tawfeeq Travel Group CEO Rehan Ali Syed told Gulf Times.
He noted that booking for outbound travel is trending very high, citing a surge in cruise bookings starting from Europe. Key destinations this year are Turkey, Greece, UK, France, Georgia, Switzerland, Austria, Spain and the US. On the other hand, Syed noted that many travellers, especially football fans from various regions globally, are extremely keen to explore Qatar with the 2022 FIFA World Cup getting closer.
“Thanks to Qatar Tourism for engaging in several programmes to promote the country in different parts of the world. The cruise season just got over last week, and we are looking forward to next season just before FIFA,” he added.
Syed noted that Qatar tourism has been working relentlessly in extending its footprints in every country to ensure more visitors come into Qatar and enjoy various activities, and more importantly, to learn more about the Qatari culture. “Qatar’s dunes are one of the best in the world and there is no place in the GCC where the desert is directly connected to the inland sea. There are various camps available for customers to enjoy, the Arabian nights in the traditional tents as well as for those who prefer luxurious living,” Syed said.
He noted that the opening of several resorts such as Hilton Salwa Resort, Messila Resort, Zulal Wellness Resort, Banana Island and soon to open, Rixos, will make Qatar an attractive destination for travellers in times to come. “There will be enough in offering for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions tourism and other adventure activities. It is quite evident that most of these places are on a good occupancy with more and more people opting for staycations,” Syed said.
Qatar Tourism COO Berthold Trenkel shared the same view, noting the rapid recovery of the sector from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic due to cruise tourism’s robust performance. He said the cruise season, which usually takes place between November and April, significantly contributed to the recovery of the tourism industry. It is learnt that Doha Port received more than 16 cruise ships carrying a huge number of passengers and crews during the 2021/22 season.
According to Trenkel, the past couple of months also witnessed an increasing number of visitors coming from other GCC countries such as Kuwait, Saudi, and Oman by car. Apart from attracting visitors from the Gulf, Qatar Tourism expects to unlock major markets once further relaxations of Covid restrictions take place.