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Qatar’s contribution to cruise industry recovery

The number of ships and passengers at Doha Port has increased more than six-fold in five seasons

Qatar Tourism welcomed almost 58,000 passengers and crew members in the first half of the 2021-2022 cruise season, which will run until June 2022. A total of 18 cruise ships have docked at Doha Port so far with 12 additional cruise calls expected by the end of the season.

This is the second season with overnight stay itineraries for cruise passengers, including a total of 13 turnarounds, during which passengers began and ended their journey in Qatar.

According to Qatar Tourism, the top source countries for arrivals at Doha Port are Belgium, Brazil, France, India, Italy, Germany, Spain and the UK.

The number of visitors from the GCC countries has also grown in the current cruise season and is expected to increase further next year, partly due to Qatar Tourism’s recent partnership with Emerald Cruises to introduce eight-day itineraries on luxury superyacht cruises around the GCC region.  

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Qatar Tourism, in cooperation with partners including Qatar Airways, the Port Authority, Mwani and the Ministry of Public Health, has taken several steps to aid the recovery of the country’s cruise sector. 

Its ‘Tour Guide Training Programme’ provides training for local tour guides who work with cruise passengers to ensure they’re equipped to guide shore excursions, which are often condensed in a day and include large groups. The initiative is part of Qatar Tourism’s Service Excellence programme, which aims to enhance the visitor experience at every touchpoint.

Currently, the cruise industry is gearing up for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The grand terminal at Doha Port is set to open ahead of the tournament and will have the capacity to simultaneously host two mega ships. During FIFA World Cup it will offer a unique tourism experience in which MSC Cruises ships act as floating hotels. 

Doha’s terminal will also be home to various attractions, including an aquarium and an art gallery

Commenting on the importance of the sector, Qatar Tourism chairman and Qatar Airways group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said: “Thanks to the remarkable efforts of all our partners, we managed to successfully and safely resume cruise tourism, which is a crucial sub-sector that helps us showcase our authentic experiences to a large number of visitors within a short period of time.

“The role of Mwani Qatar is highly commendable, as they helped position Qatar as a popular destination for marine tourism in the region, within a short span of just six seasons. We are now gearing up to witness a growth in passenger numbers, particularly in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, with the opening of a permanent passenger terminal at Doha Port this summer.”

For more information, visit www.visitqatar.qa

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