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Qatar exceeds 2022 tourism figures in just eight months

Qatar Tourism bedouin camp Qatar Tourism
The 'Feel More In Qatar' advertising campaign, launched after the World Cup, appeals to seasoned travellers
  • Almost 2.6m visitors to end of August
  • 157% year-on-year increase
  • Goal for tourism as 12% of GDP by 2030

The number of tourists in Qatar this year has exceeded the figure for the whole of 2022, with officials saying that hosting the Fifa World Cup has put the Gulf state on the map.

Qatar Tourism data revealed that the country has welcomed more than 2.5 million visitors as of the last week in August.

While not disclosing the 2022 figure, sources said this was more than the previous full year and also a 157 percent increase on the same period last year.

“The latest achievement bears testimony to Qatar’s rising global position as a leading tourism destination, a status influenced by the successful hosting of the Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022,” the authority said in a statement.

Real GDP grew by 8 percent year on year in the fourth quarter of 2022, as Qatar benefited from the first-ever staging of the World Cup in the Middle East, according to preliminary data released by the Planning and Statistics Authority.

Visitor numbers have also been boosted by the relaunch of the Hayya online platform for travellers who require a visa to enter Qatar. 

Qatar Tourism is looking to host a growing number of major events and conferences.

Cruises are also growing in importance with its newly renovated port welcoming international ships such as Costa Toscana, AIDAcosma and Emerald Azzura for the first time.

Muhannad Mukahall, CEO at Standard Chartered, said in April that Qatar should be able to “successfully leverage” the World Cup to expand its tourism sector. 

Akbar Al Baker, chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group CEO, said: “The growth in the number of international visitors to Qatar shows the fruit of Qatar Tourism’s strategy to leverage the momentum of the world’s biggest sporting event late last year.” 

The country is hosting 14 sporting events in 2023, including Formula 1, as part of its plan to raise tourism’s GDP contribution to 12 percent by 2030 from the current 7 percent.

According to the latest purchasing managers’ index survey, which measures growth in Qatar’s non-oil sector, output, new orders, employment and purchasing all rose in August, and the 12-month outlook remains positive.

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