Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) in collaboration with the Public Transport Affairs Department, and the General Directorate of Civil Defense, announced today new procedures for the licensing of Dhows used for tourism purposes. The new regulations identify licensing authorities, set clear standards and controls on the licensing of all Tourist Dhows operating in Qatari waters.
The focus of the regulations is to enhance and specify passenger safety, and to ensure that visitors and tourists are treated according to expected international standards, and that they have adequate protection in cases of emergency and accidents.
The new procedures, which will go into effect as of 1st of April, include licensing standards, which were developed by QTA, the Department of Public Transport Affairs and the General Directorate of Civil Defense.
While these new regulations focus specifically on Dhows, they form a part of the overall Regulatory system being developed by QTA in partnership with UNWTO, in line with QTA’s mission to plan, regulate, develop and promote a high quality, sustainable tourism economy in Qatar..
QTA is also working to stimulate the Marine tourism sector and to make the most of Qatar’s coastline, beaches and marine experiences. While popular locally, only very few international travel and tour operators will actually book or recommend Dhows to their clients, due to safety and insurance concerns. QTA believes that once these standards are in place the Tourist Dhows will benefit greatly as the international industry begins to recommend them.
“The new licensing procedures and regulations are intended to organize the operations of tourist boats of all kinds and set standards for the marine tourism sector in general,” said Mohammed Al Ansari, Acting Director of Tourism Department at QTA.
“Agreed upon by the key stakeholders in Qatar, the regulations lay out a set of important and essential policies that will guide business active in the industry and ensure the safety of workers, visitors, and tourists according to the highest international standards.”
QTA emphasized that there shall be a period provided to current Tourist Dhow Operators to make the necessary changes, if any, to ensure the new standards are met. These Dhows are such an important part of Qatar heritage, and so symbolic to tourism, that we really wish to see this sector developed and promoted.
“QTA continues to work towards maintaining and promoting Qatar’s tourist attractions and developing the tourism sector in the State in order to play an important role in the growth and diversification of the national economy,” added Al Ansari.
Through the new Dhow licensing measures and standards, QTA, in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and Commerce and the Ministry of Interior, and Public Transport Affairs Department intend to stimulate investment in marine tourism by providing clear standards, sound guidelines and regular updates to the industry as new developments take place.. This increased activity in the sector will contribute to enhancing the country’s tourism offering, especially in light of the sector’s great potential, with Qatar’s shores and territorial waters recognized as some of the most beautiful in the region.