Doha: The inbound and outbound tourism movements of Qatar have started with the gradual relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and the hosting of several international events such as the first Qatar Travel Mart (QTM) in 2021, which recently concluded, in addition to a number top-class sporting events just around the corner, including the Formula 1 race, the FIFA Arab Cup and the World Cup in Qatar 2022.
Similarly, Qatar residents have also begun their long-awaited overseas travel with some Qataris back into their pre-pandemic travel mode. The country representatives participating in QTM 2021 have taken note of this and are now promoting Qataris to discover their tourist destinations or to rediscover them.
Speaking to The Peninsula on the sidelines of QTM 2021, the President of the Italian National Tourist Board, Giorgio Palmucci said: “With all the events that Qatar organizes, like Formula 1 and the World Championship, it is really important to be here. Qatar is an important market for us. At the same time, we know that there are many Italian tourists ready to come to Qatar. Doha is also very important for Italian tourists traveling through Doha to travel all over the world. The tourism minister in Italy is working to make it easier for people to travel to Qatar. I think during the winter time, from December onwards, there will be an increase in the number of tourists coming to Qatar from Italy. I am very optimistic.
President of the Italian National Tourist Board Giorgio Palmucci
“We are also ready to take in the new tourists. In Italy, around 94 percent of Italian citizens are currently vaccinated. We are a safe country. We know that it is also important for the future to ensure security even after the COVID-19 disappears. I think safety will be the number one reason to choose a destination, ”added Palmucci.
Italy’s ambassador to Qatar Alessandro Prunas
Italy’s Ambassador to Qatar HE Alessandro Prunas also said: “The countries are opening up to tourism again, and Italy is one of them with all the necessary precautions. Italy is one of the most important travel destinations in the world. We are the fourth largest travel destination and, according to UNESCO, Italy owns over 70 percent of the world heritage. We consider the Qatari market to be a very important market because we know that Qatar love Italy and we have a lot in common. We really encourage everyone who really wants to come to Italy because we are open to business. ”
According to Almuftah Travel and Tours manager Khalid Lakmoush, the Qatar travel market is now in a much better position than it was last year when countries closed their borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Manager of Almuftah Travel and Tours Khalid Lakmoush
“We’ve had an increase in bookings since April of this year, and business has grown 65 to 70 percent year over year. People actually want to travel. And they are now much more experienced in dealing with the COVID restrictions. It is now normal for people to wear the face masks and do PCR testing unlike in the past. In the past, people were even afraid to go to the airports. But they have adjusted now, ”said Lakmoush.
He added, “We have good bookings from India, Pakistan and even Europe. Although not so much from other Asian countries. We also have business trips from Europe to Doha. We are also seeing good bookings for outbound. We see London as the first destination for people from Qatar, followed by Turkey. There are also good bookings in other European countries such as Switzerland, France, Germany and Italy. But it’s still not back to pre-pandemic levels. Maybe we will need another year or two to get back to pre-pandemic levels. But the more countries that open up, the more entries and exits we will see. ”
Swiss Ambassador to Qatar Edgar Doerig
Speak with The peninsula On the sidelines of the ‘Switzerland Travel Experience 2021’, which was held in the residence of the Swiss ambassador and in which representatives of Switzerland recently took part in QTM and their colleagues in Doha, the Swiss ambassador to Qatar SE Edgar Doerig said that Switzerland was the successful Qualification for the FIFA World The Cup Qatar 2022 will also increase the interest of the Swiss in visiting Doha.
«We know that Switzerland is qualified for the World Cup. The interest in experiencing Qatar, not only for the World Cup, but also before and after, will certainly increase. We see that the Swiss have been coming back here since the severe relaxation of the COVID-19 restrictions, also to explore new market opportunities for investment. I can already see that there will be more opportunities for tourism and leisure and expect an increase in both directions, ”Dörig continues.
Director for GCC at Switzerland Tourism Matthias Albrecht
According to the director for GCC of Switzerland Tourism, Matthias Albrecht, the arrivals of tourists from the Gulf region in Switzerland have already exceeded the pre-pandemic level and in September recorded an increase of 3 percent compared to 2019.
“Before the pandemic, around 13 to 14 percent of all GCC visitors (almost 1 million overnight stays) came from Qatar. One of Switzerland’s great advantages is its diversity. Halal food is also not a problem. But the interest of the Swiss in visiting Qatar is growing, ”he said.
Director Markets at Interlaken Tourism Switzerland Renato Julier
Renato Julier, Director of Markets at Interlaken Tourismus, Switzerland, adds: “Switzerland has always been one of the safest countries in the world. What we call “Swisstainability” is also very sustainable. People look forward to untouched nature experiences and real adventures. At the same time, we are also looking forward to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. This is something new because this is the first time it has happened in winter. And people aren’t used to seeing that. I expect more people to travel. And I think this exchange is really important. ”
Poland is also seeing an increased number of tourist arrivals from Qatar.
Polish Ambassador to Qatar Janusz Janke
The Polish Ambassador to Qatar HE Janusz Janke told The Peninsula: “The message is intended to strengthen Poland’s positive image in Qatar: of a modern, dynamic economy, a member of the European Union and an attractive investment and tourist destination. Travelers from Qatar particularly appreciate the hospitality of the Poles and the untouched natural beauty of the Polish forests, mountains, lake regions and the sea. Qatar Travel Mart 2021 seems to be a great opportunity to encourage people to visit our country and to establish contacts between Polish and Qatari tour operators. ”
Project manager at the Polish tourism organization Dorota Zadrozna
Project manager for marketing at the Polish tourism organization Dorota Zadrozna also said: “We received a lot of visitors to our stand at QTM who wanted to visit Poland. And people are looking for nature travel. We are a strong destination when we talk about nature travel and the big cities. At the moment the numbers are not growing and some people are still scared of traveling long distances. But in general, people want to travel and wait for the borders to reopen.
Qatar is an interesting travel destination. Many Poles worked in Qatar many years ago, and as many Gulf people visited Poland a long time ago. We both remember our countries from the past. Now we would both like to see the changes and see these countries from the start. We have this sentimental connection, ”added Zadrozna.
When asked when the global travel and tourism sector will return to pre-pandemic levels, she said, “We have to be optimistic because we are in the tourism industry. All statistics say that next year should get better. We have to understand that this COVID-19 will stay with us longer and we have to learn to live with it. “