Qatar is redoubling its efforts to position itself as a major cruise tourism destination through a major partnership with Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) UK & Ireland.
Qatar Tourism will be one of the main headline sponsors of the CLIA Selling Cruise Day on November 4, 2021 in Southampton and will also sponsor the annual CLIA Cruise Forum in December 2021.
The move comes ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will be hosted in Qatar, representing an opportunity for cruise lines to tie in port calls in Doha with the event.
Qatari cruise tourism officials said they were looking to enhance the country’s brand awareness across the region and with CLIA’s wider community of cruise lines, travel agents and stakeholders.
While Dubai is the primary cruise port in the region, accommodating the vast majority of homeporting cruise lines every winter cruise season, Qatar’s capital, Doha, is a fast-growing emerging cruise destination on Arabian Gulf itineraries.
The country has invested extensively in tourism development, with Doha working to diversify and build upon its offerings and broaden its appeal for visitors ahead of and beyond the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
The long-term ambition is to welcome 6-million tourists per year by 2030, with the cruise industry playing an integral part in that growth.
In the 2019/2020 cruise season, Qatar welcome just 207,000 cruise tourists, compared to almost 1 million for Dubai and more than 500,000 for Abu Dhabi, but cruise officials in Doha have high hopes for the coming winter season.
“As Qatar has re-opened its borders, we are looking forward to welcoming back cruise travellers from around the globe,” said Berthold Trenkel, Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism.
“Qatar is a fantastic destination for every type of traveller. It is the safest and one of the most cosmopolitan destinations in the Middle East, rich in art, culture and tradition,” Trenkel added.
“With a range of assets including world class hotels, restaurants, stunning beaches and a bustling atmosphere, we offer the best of the Middle East all in one place.”
“Adventure-seekers can enjoy the thrill of dune bashing across the desert, cultural enthusiasts can explore our world-famous museums and galleries, and there is a variety of fine dining options serving local and international cuisine to suit all tastes. Qatar defies expectations.”
A host of new hotels and hotel apartments, activities, theme parks, shopping malls and major projects have recently opened or are currently under construction, while MSC Cruises has confirmed its newest and largest cruise ship, MSC World Europa, will debut in Doha.
“We’re very excited to welcome Qatar Tourism to the CLIA family,” said Andy Harmer, CLIA UK & Ireland Managing Director.
“Their support for the trade is a clear indication they are looking to build positive cruise momentum,” he added. “The region was proving increasingly popular with cruisers and we’re all looking forward to seeing ships start visiting the exceptional facilities of the Doha port and its surroundings again.”
Doha Port, the former commercial port in the capital, which was recently transformed into a cruise-only port, is undergoing a redevelopment ahead of the opening of the new cruise season in November, 2021.