Qatar Closes Out Strong Cruise Season

Hassan Al Ibrahim

Qatar has closed out a strong 2017-2018 cruise season, with a 39 percent increase in guest arrivals, with 65,000 passengers reported. 

Those passengers arrived on Qatar’s shores onboard 22 cruise ships, 14 of which were megaships.

The cruise season spanned from October 2017 until April 2018, and saw five maiden voyages to Doha, made by MSC Splendida, Mein Schiff 5, Crystal Symphony, Europa 2 and Crystal Serenity.

Data gathered by QTA shows that 86 percent of passengers disembarked and enjoyed Qatar’s various offerings, with 53 percent preferring city tours, and 18 percent choosing desert safaris. 

Hassan Al Ibrahim, Acting Chairman of QTA, said: “I am delighted to celebrate the success of the 2017-2018 cruise season with all of the partners who made it possible. Our strategy identifies cruise tourism as a key contributor to the growth and development targets for the next five years: not only does it have an immediate impact on visitor arrivals and tourism spending, it is one of the most effective tools in promoting Qatar as a destination, turning each passenger who experiences Qatar into an ambassador among prospective travelers.”

He added: “The cruise tourism sector, the growth of which is entirely dependent on the coordination of efforts, is a model for the success that can be achieved if parties across various sectors, public and private, join hands. Consolidating efforts towards an enhanced visitor experience is at the heart of The Next Chapter of the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2017-2023.”

QTA also conducted visitor satisfaction surveys throughout the season, which showed that 94 percent of cruise visitors were satisfied with their overall visitor experience, according to a 

QTA’s projections show continued growth in the cruise tourism industry over the coming years.  With the completion of the Doha Port redevelopment, and the associated capacity increase which will allow the port to receive two mega-ships at once, Qatar is expected to attract 500 thousand cruise tourists by 2026.

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