Members of the cruise tourism industry gathered to celebrate the close of the 2016/2017 season with remarkable growth in both the number of ships and passengers.

Representatives from across the cruise tourism value chain, including immigration, port and customs officials, tour guides and tour operators, providers of logistical support and operators of tourism landmarks, were recognised by Qatar Tourism Authority for their role in facilitating seamless and memorable experiences for 47,000 passengers and crew.

The visitors, whose numbers have increased by over 1000%, arrived at Qatar’s shores on board 22 cruise ships and one mega-yacht, an increase of 120% from the number of cruise ships received last season.

Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at the QTA, said that in addition to being their busiest season to date, this was also a season of many firsts, with Qatar welcoming its first mega-ship, and two cruise ships docking simultaneously in Doha port for the first time. This season also witnessed the first time that cruise tourists were able to benefit from a new, streamlined disembarkation process, and the newly introduced free 96-hour transit visa.

“None of this would have been possible without all of our partners. On behalf of QTA, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to all of you for your hard work, your support, and the collaborative spirit you have shown throughout the season.’

QTA’s projections show a three-fold increase in the number of ship calls over the next three years. QTA is working with partners to carefully plan, develop and manage the cruise terminal facilities, infrastructure and operations needed to achieve this growth. Once all developments are completed, projections show that the cruise industry has the potential to generate over QAR350 million per annum by 2026.   

Worth mentioning are the top ten nationalities that have visited Qatar on board cruise ships: British, followed by Italian, Spanish, German, Belgian, French, Swiss, American, Brazilian and Irish.

In collaboration with partners at the Ministry of Transport & Communication, Mwani – Qatar Ports Management Company, preparations are underway for the upgrade of Doha Port this year. Once complete, the Port will be a world-class cruise ship hub and tourist destination in the heart of Doha, helping to position the country as a turnaround port by the 2018/2019 cruise season.

QTA and Mwani confirmed that Doha Port will continue to welcome cruise ships in the 2017/2018 season.

Al Ibrahim said he is confident that even as work begins on the redevelopment of Doha Port, they will be able to provide smooth and memorable end-to-end experiences that reinforce Qatar’s position as a world-class hub with deep, authentic roots.

Check this link for more information about Qatar Tourism Authority.