Visits to Qatar Peak During March 2016, QTA’s Q1 Report Shows

Doha, April 20 (QNA) – Qatar received 305,014 visitors in March 2016, the largest number of visitors to be welcomed into Qatar in one calendar month, according to Qatar Tourism Authority’s Q1 2016 Tourism Performance Report.

Total visitor arrivals in the first quarter of 2016 (822,626) dropped by 2% in comparison to the same period in 2015, due to a lower number of visitors from non-GCC Arab countries, the Americas, Europe and Asian countries including Oceania. However, visits to Qatar by nationals of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries increased 11%, while visits by nationals from Other (non-Arab) African countries increased by 7% in comparison to the same period in 2015.

In addition, the number of international visitors entering Qatar on leisure visit visas (tourist visas, personal visit visas, family visit visas, and transit visas) has risen by 6% in Q1 2016 in comparison to the same period in Q1 2015.

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Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer said: ‘Qatar continues to attract a healthy number of leisure visitors, signifying the growing portfolio of tourism offerings, especially for visitors from the GCC who find Qatar a place where they can enjoy new experiences while benefiting from the comfort of shared language and heritage.’ ‘This data offers us important insights as we step up our development and promotional efforts. It also helps us as we guide investors and work with our partners in the public sector on the expansion of Qatar’s leisure and business events offering, as well as the cruise industry.’ Within the GCC, Saudi Arabian nationals have contributed to the majority of the growth in arrivals from the region.

Compared to the first quarter of 2015, arrivals of Saudi nationals have increased by 16%, while arrivals of UAE nationals increased by 14%, and arrivals of Bahraini nationals rose by 2%. Data shows that the number of visits spiked in the period between 9-18 March, which coincided with spring holidays in Saudi Arabia.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), Qatar is the only country in the Middle East region that has maintained consistent arrivals growth for over a decade. The country had registered a 3.7% growth in annual arrivals in 2015, compared to 2014, and an average of 11.5% growth over the past 5 years (2010-2015), making it one of the fastest growing destinations in the world.