An influx of cruise tourists is expected from December 2021 until early next year
Qatar is expecting to have a busy winter cruise season, with dozens of vessels bringing thousands of tourists scheduled to dock in the Gulf state throughout the cooler months.
According to Qatar Tourism and Mwani Qatar, at least 78 ships will make maiden calls to Qatar between December and April 2022
Mwani Qatar, the organisation responsible for managing the country’s shipping terminals and seaports, confirmed that the first cruise ship to arrive was MSC Virtuosa with 4,600 visitors on board.
Speaking about the winter season, Qatar Tourism chairman and Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “The current cruise season is expected to be the busiest, with the arrival of around 78 cruises. This includes 11 cruise ships making maiden voyages to Doha, 11 turnaround voyages and 10 ships that will dock in Doha Port.
“With the opening of the permanent passenger terminal at Doha Port, we expect to witness a growth in cruise visits in the coming period, particularly in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.”
The global cruise industry, which was estimated to be worth $150 billion in 2018
Cruising came to a standstill when the coronavirus pandemic prompted governments around the world to close borders to international visitors. Now markets in the Middle East have already reopened to cruise liners, cruise lines are finding ways to entice travellers on board with the added assurance of safe travel.
According to Mwani Qatar CEO Abdulla Mohamed Al-khanji, several precautionary measures have been put in place. He said: “Many health and safety procedures [have been] put in place in coordination with the stakeholders to ensure the safety of the community and to secure an enjoyable and safe travel experience for tourists, starting from the moment the cruise ships arrive until they leave the quayside.”