And the authority says further visa and processing changes can be expected as it prioritises the delivery of a friendly and efficient arrival experience.
“We are working closely with ministries, committees and industry decision-makers throughout Qatar and worldwide to develop a tourism product which will bring maximum benefit to the local economy,” said HE Sheikh Sultan Bin Jassem Al Thani, QGTA Chairman.
“Our goal is to consolidate the individual efforts of hotels, clubs, shopping malls, tour operators and event organisers into a focussed, effective, country-wide ‘one vision’ programme.
“The programme’s components will be the organisation of family entertainment festivals, shopping promotions, desert trips, business events and meetings as well as golf tournaments.
“The authority is actively participating in the events taking place in the country and is contributing to Qatar’s competitive edge by monitoring the services provided by hotels and tour operators. We ensure that tourists coming to Qatar get what they expect, and more.”
QGTA says the ‘one vision’ programme will be aimed at encouraging the local Qatari and expatriate population to spend more time and money in the Gulf state, as well as encouraging ‘stop-overs’ by overseas travellers.
“We want to ensure visiting travellers have an array of interesting activities to pursue,” said H.E. Sheikh Sultan. “Past-times such as desert fun drives among the beautiful dunes and beaches of our country are just examples.”
The QGTA Chairman acknowledges that Qatar’s tourism industry got off to a slow start but is now stepping for a major leap forward as the government throws its weight firmly behind the tourism drive.
“Historically there was little emphasis on the value of tourism to the economy of the state,” said H.E. Sheikh Sultan.
“Today, the government believes Qatar has a lot to offer tourists. It sees potential for developing the number of visitors to Qatar while, at the same time, preserving the country’s important heritage and traditions so that it retains its true Arabian spirit and remains one of the safest countries in the Gulf, and the world.”
H.E. Sheikh Sultan said Qatar’s future is bright with the authority having a number of exciting developments in the pipeline – including further visa relaxation.
“There are already positive changes in the visa regulations. Thirty-three nationalities can get their visas on arrival, regardless of which airline they travel on. Other nationalities can travel on Qatar Airways and get their visas on arrival too. The visa fee is QR 55 (US $15).
“Nationalities who cannot get visas on arrival, can obtain them by booking their rooms in one of the country’s four, or five-star hotels. This is a considerable achievement and other changes are in the pipeline. Making arrival procedures friendlier and more efficient for tourists and business travellers coming to Qatar is one of the authority’s top priorities,” he said.
QGTA is also in the process of establishing a data-base of worldwide tour operators as well as hotel occupancy statistics and general tourism development trends and figures.
“This will be available to hotels, tour operators, clubs and airlines within Qatar,” said H.E. Sheikh Sultan.
“This is a very exciting time for Qatar. The old international airport is now under renovation. The construction of a new, bigger airport will begin shortly. There are major developments in the country’s overall infrastructure and hospitality industry. In addition to recently-built international hotels such as Inter-Continental, Movenpick and the Ritz-Carlton, Qatar is about to welcome more global chains, including the Holiday Inn and Four Seasons.”
Wednesday, May 8- 2002 @ 15:37 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.