The tiny Middle East nation of Qatar, located on a peninsula in the Persian Gulf, is banking on tourism as a way to diversify its economy beyond natural gas and oil, which have made the country one of the wealthiest in the world.
The tourism effort includes not only high-profile international sporting events, as seen in last year’s FIFA World Cup, but also a newly built cruise ship terminal in the capital city of Doha.
“In line with the national strategy, Qatar National Vision 2030, we are expanding our tourism value proposition and are excited to welcome travelers from around the world to experience the best of Qatari hospitality both on sea and land,” said Qatar Tourism Vice President of International Markets Philip Dickinson.
Luxury Hotel Offerings
As Qatar’s tourism grows, many new luxury hotels have opened in 2022, and more are scheduled to debut this year.
These include several international properties, such as St. Regis Marsa Arabia Island, Waldorf Astoria Doha West Bay, Waldorf Astoria Lusail, Raffles Doha and Fairmont Doha, Le Royal Méridien City Center Doha, Andaz Doha and Rosewood Doha.
A Focus on Cruising
“The cruise sector has been an instrumental part in propelling our tourism growth forward,” Dickinson added. “Hosting the single most popular global sporting event with the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has led Qatar to develop in-depth plans to boost tourism, with an ambitious target to welcome over 6 million visitors a year by 2030.
“A fundamental part of this is attracting more cruise passengers and ships homeporting from Doha. The new Grand Cruise Terminal is located in central Doha near the Museum of Islamic Art and Souq Waqif traditional marketplace. The terminal can welcome up to 12,000 passengers per day and host two megaships at one time. Various attractions at the terminal include an aquarium and art gallery.”
Cruise Tourism Numbers
Qatar Tourism predicted it would welcome more than 200,000 cruise visitors during 95 ship calls in the 2022-23 season, which ran from November through April.
The cruise terminal itself is striking, with more than 1,000 arches that pay homage to classic Arabian architecture. It houses the Middle East’s largest aquarium, according to Qatari tourism officials.
Cruise lines that have sailed to or from Qatar, or have plans to in 2023, include MSC Cruises (which christened its new MSC World Europa in Doha in November 2022), Costa Cruises, Ponant, Emerald Cruises, TUI and Silversea Cruises.
Myriad Selling Points
Qatar is a fascinating country that offers modern skyscrapers, beautiful top-tier hotels, high-end retail shops and desert adventures including camel rides. In winter, temperatures can range from a low of 57 degrees Fahrenheit to highs of about 77. Plus, the nation gets about 320 days of sunshine per year.
It’s not difficult to get to or around the country. Qatar Airways serves more than 150 destinations and is often rated among the best in the world, along with Hamad International Airport. The modern Metro system links many of the top tourism attractions.
Respecting Local Culture
Visitors should be aware that they are expected to “show respect for local culture by avoiding excessively revealing clothing in public places. In malls, it is appropriate to cover the shoulders and wear clothing over the knee,” according to Qatar Tourism. Alcohol is not available in most restaurants, except those in major international hotels. Often, watermelon or orange juice is served with meals. The official language in Qatar is Arabic, but English is commonly spoken.
Qatar’s visionary approach to diversify its economy through tourism is evident with the development of a newly built cruise ship terminal and the successful hosting of high-profile international events like the FIFA World Cup. As luxury hotels continue to flourish in the country, the focus on cruising is instrumental in driving tourism growth. With an ambitious target of welcoming over 6 million visitors per year by 2030, the Grand Cruise Terminal stands as a testament to Qatar’s commitment to enhancing the tourist experience. The terminal’s attractions, including the Middle East’s largest aquarium, exemplify the country’s dedication to providing world-class hospitality. Amidst this thriving tourism landscape, BM Events offers a solution to meet the industry’s demand for exceptional customer service. As a casual on-demand hospitality staffing provider, BM Events can ensure that businesses in Qatar’s hospitality sector stand out by delivering outstanding experiences to every visitor. With their professional and well-trained staff, BM Events can be the perfect partner to help businesses shine in this growing tourism destination.