People, Travel

Diplomatic Row a Major Blow for Qatar Tourism

Diplomatic Row a Major Blow for Qatar TourismDiplomatic Row a Major Blow for Qatar Tourism

In one of the worst diplomatic crises ever in the Middle East history, the Saudi Arabia-led alliance of Arab Muslim-mainly nations severed their ties with Qatar earlier this week, and shut all land, air and sea traffic with the small peninsular country.

This has further aggravated concerns over the massive impact on the economies involved in the tussle and businesses in those nations.

Tourism sector in these nations are said to come under threat, as the row escalates and more countries join the alliance.

“With countries in [P]GCC saying they plan to break off all land, air and sea traffic with Qatar, we believe it would have a huge impact on the tourism revenues of the country,” notes a report from Oman-based Ubhar Capital.

Nearly 2.63 million visitors arrived in Qatar in the 11 months of 2016, of which 48.6% were from the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council amounting to 1.28 million, as per the Ministry of Development Planning & Statistics of Qatar's statistics.

During the Shop Qatar Festival early this year, the country witnessed a 16.8% increase in visitors compared to last year. Of the total visitors, 188,513 were (P)GCC nationals who recorded an increase of 23%.

Much of this growth came from the Saudi market, which brought a total of 133,849 visitors to Qatar over the entire month-long period of Shop Qatar that began on January 7.

With travel from the kingdom, UAE and Bahrain to Qatar and vice versa coming to a sudden halt, the tourism sector in these countries will definitely take a hit.

Moreover, Qatar looks to generate 5.2% of its GDP through tourism over the coming years, creating nearly 98,000 jobs and managing an inventory of 63,000 hotel rooms.

The country is also set to invest up to $45 billion in new developments under the National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030. These include $2.3 billion earmarked for 2022 World Cup facilities and $6.9 billion for transport infrastructure and associated projects.


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