09 Mar 2018 – 13:13

The Peninsula

DOHA: Qatar saw an 84 percent increase in visitor arrivals from German-speaking markets in the first two months of this year, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has said. “Year  2018 is already off to a strong start recording an average 84 percent increase in visitor arrivals from German-speaking markets in January and February compared to the same period last year.

“These increases can be linked to the sharp rise in cruise arrivals and more visitors availing of the free 96-hour transit visa,” it said.

qatar airways

Last year, Qatar welcomed nearly 59,000 visitors from German-speaking markets, representing an 18 percent increase on the previous year and 12 percent of all European arrivals.

Thanks to Qatar’s recent visa policy changes, German, Austrian  and Swiss citizens can now enter Qatar visa free. The visa waiver is valid for 180 days from the date of issuance and entitles its holder to spend up to 90 days in Qatar, during either a single trip or on multiple trips.

In addition, Qatar Airways has 35 direct flights connecting Doha to five major cities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland every week.

QTA is leading Qatar’s delegation to Berlin for Internationale Tourism Börse – ITB 2018 amid growing popularity. Qatar’s pavilion at the ITB Berlin, which was opened on Wednesday, showcases unique and authentic offering aimed to attract visitors from Europe and German-speaking markets.

In particular, it presents the country as the most open in its region, welcoming the world to experience unique offerings in sports, culture, family entertainment and business. Qatar’s Ambassador to Germany, H E Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has visited the pavilion.

Rashed AlQurese, Chief Marketing & Promotion Officer at QTA commented, “Since our last presence at ITB Berlin in 2017, Qatar has taken big strides in developing its tourism sector to further diversify the country’s visitor source markets and products to create a seamless journey to, from and within Qatar.

“Together with our industry partners at the Bourse, we are working to provide German-speaking trade with an effective ‘one-stop shop’ for conducting business with our tourism sector.”

He added, “We are particularly pleased to see our new strategy yield promising results in visitor growth from European markets and Germany in particular.”

The Qatar delegation, consisting of 23 tourism sector partners including some of the country’s leading hotels, local tour operators and other tourism service providers, is present at Europe’s biggest travel show which runs until Sunday. Qatar’s 222 m2 pavilion is showcasing the country’s expanding tourism and hospitality options.

The delegation includes representatives from tourism sector partners including Alwadi Hotel Doha, Banana Island Resort, Century Hotel, Grand Hyatt Doha, Holiday Villa Hotel, InterContinental Hotels, Katara Hospitality, Marriott Doha, Radisson Blu Hotel, Souq Al Wakra Hotel, Souq Waqif Boutique Hotels, Sharq Village & Spa, Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, St. Regis Doha, The Ritz-Carlton Doha, The Torch Doha, Wyndham Grand Regency Doha, Arabian Adventure, Gulf Adventure, Qatar International Adventures, Regency Travel & Tours, Travel Designer, and Unique Choice.