PHOTO: Doha, Qatar (Photo courtesy Thinkstock)
Qatar has implemented new visa rules aimed at boosting tourism and the news was welcomed by tourism officials says a report for Oxford Business Group.
“Boosting the sector and facilitating ease of entry is an increasingly important priority as Qatar aims to increase the number of tourists from 2.93m in 2015 to 7m-10m annually by 2030, while also gearing up for the mass of visitors expected to attend the 2022 FIFA World Cup,” reports Oxford Business Group.
The announcement about the new visa rules comes on the heels of an expected $40 billion investment in tourism infrastructure planned through 2030.
Tourism arrivals have declined slightly but the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) hopes the new entry and visa measures will help.
“At an August press conference, the Ministry of Interior (MoI), QTA and Qatar Airways (QA) announced the launch of a fast-tracked visa application system. The new system – which will be implemented in collaboration with VFS Global, a global provider of visa-processing services – is expected to be ready by the first or second quarter of 2017,” Oxford Business Group reports.
READ MORE: Qatar Airways’ New Atlanta Route Re-Ignites Open Skies Debate
Already a new program was put in place to encourage stopovers in Qatar. The program allows for a free, four-day visa for transiting passengers in Doha.
“Travelers are able to apply directly for the transit visa through a QA office or online, and once approved, the single-entry visa is valid for a 90-day period, according to press reports detailing the program.
Qatar Airways has also restructured airfares so that stopovers do not include an extra charge.
For more on travel to Qatar, read on here.