Qatar to further relax visa procedures
Further visa relaxation and application processing changes are to be expected upon entrance to the state of Qatar, according to officials from the newly-formed Qatar General Tourism Authority (QGTA), the government body charged with developing, coordinating and managing tourism in Qatar.
QGTA announced its plans to establish a network of representative offices throughout the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and Europe, as it moves to position Qatar as an emerging family leisure and business travel destination. QGTA is also in the process of establishing a database of tour operators, hotel occupancy statistics and general tourism development trends and figures.
“Our goal is to consolidate the individual efforts of hotels, clubs, shopping malls, tour operators and event organizers into a focused, effective, country-wide ‘one vision’ program,” said Sheikh Sultan Bin Jassem Al-Thani, QGTA chairman. “The program’s components will be the organization of family entertainment festivals, shopping promotions, desert trips, business events and meetings as well as golf tournaments.”
QGTA’s ‘one vision’ program 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 stopovers by overseas travelers.
“Historically there was little emphasis on the value of tourism to the economy of the state,” said 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.”
“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 55 Qatari riyals ($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,” he said.
“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,” he concluded. — (menareport.com)
© 2002 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)