Qatar is increasing its tourist numbers by 20 percent annually, according to Saeed Al-Hajri, chairman of the tourism committee of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry and general manager of Ali Bin Ali Travel Bureau.
"In fact, Qatar is expecting more tourists this summer than in the previous season, he said, adding that Qatar has a lot of attractions for world tourists.
"The Gulf state's strong economy is boosting its tourism and many other sectors," said Al-Hajri. "The government is encouraging and developing tourism as part of its economic development. This has been resulting in new hotel investments. With such new hotels of luxury brands, the country will surely attract more visitors from elsewhere in the GCC and other parts of the globe," he added.
Qatar's all-round development has been continuous, which means tourists get a new experience each time they visit the country. "Qatar Airways has a huge role in developing tourism in this country because they are constantly hosting and sponsoring programs and forums, and coming up with interesting packages to help attract a bigger number of tourists every year," said Al-Hajri.
"Tourism offices have been very creative and studying different markets in the GCC to see what new they can offer and try to compete with better deals," he said, adding that Ali Bin Ali Travel Bureau has itself been witnessing a 20 percent increase in the number of tourists that it brings into the country every year," he added.
Qatar is working on a plan to attract tourists from elsewhere in the GCC on priority, Al-Hajiri said. He added that the travel agency has been creating special packages that enable locals and GCC nationals learn more about Qatar and its rich culture and tourism.
"The opening of the new airport will also help bring more transit passengers to Qatar, which will help in encouraging the travelers passing by to enjoy the country's tourist attractions," he said. "Qatar is known as a luxury destination and our investments outside the country make people curious of what we actually have inside the country. We always pay close attention to quality more than quantity," he added.
The summer vacation this year is going to be divided into two sections – a short one before Ramadan and a long one thereafter. Almost 60 percent of Qataris have delayed their summer plans until after Ramadan, said Al-Hajri. "A number of Qataris will be heading to Makkah to perform Umrah during Ramadan but they will be staying for a maximum of three days because of the hot weather," he said. "Which means the Qataris will be cutting short their stay this time compared to last year when they spent 10 days," he added.