Middle East Cruise News

Qatar targets international cruise tourist growth with infrastructure revamp

Qatar has developed a new cruise terminal in Doha Port, centrally located adjacent to some of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, and is preparing an “exciting calendar of events” for tourists ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.

Doha’s new cruise terminal, the Grand Cruise Terminal, is located in central Doha near the Museum of Islamic Art and Souq Waqif, giving cruise tourists a “spectacular view on arrival of the West Bay Skyline” according to Qatar Tourism.

Doha Grand Cruise Terminal is located in the central Doha Port

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The government’s tourism body said the new cruise terminal can host two megaships at one time and offer various attractions including an aquarium and art gallery.

The redevelopment of the port comes amid a spate of new cruise infrastructure developments in the region, including a new cruise terminal in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and a planned terminal in Aqaba, Jordan.

In addition to the new cruise terminal, Qatar is also preparing to leverage the tourism boost from the FIFA World Cup next year.

“We are continuing to expand our tourism offerings and are excited to introduce guests to the best of Qatari hospitality,” said said Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism, Berthold Trenkel.

In particular, Qatar will be looking to attract more American cruise tourists, who represent the largest cruise market in the world.

“In 2019, 190,000 cruise passengers visited the destination, and among them over 5,000 were US travelers,”Trenkel said.

“The U.S. market is an increasingly important market for our inbound tourism, and we want to raise awareness about the extensive developments that are well underway and introduce visitors from around the world to the very best of Qatar,” he added.

skyline desert downtown doha

Doha is rolling out a range of new tourism projects ahead of FIFA 2022

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Qatar has launched new tourism experiences, restaurants, theme parks, and football stadiums over the last 18 months and is adding more than 100 hotels and hotel apartments to its hospitality portfolio.

Qatar’s vaccination program has already seen over 80.9 percent of the population fully vaccinated, according to Qatar Tourism, and it has implemented a new streamlined set of measures designed to make traveling to Qatar as easy as possible.

In order to travel to Qatar, all tourists must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with vaccines that are approved for use by the Ministry of Public Health, and travel at least two weeks after they have received their final dose.

There are only 12 cruise itineraries scheduled to depart from Doha this year, with MSC Cruises and TUI Cruises (both homeporting in Dubai) also offering Doha as an embarkation port. Their Doha departures will expand to 32 in 2022.

A further 30 cruise itineraries will visit the port on cruise calls on their roundtrip itineraries out of Dubai for the 2021/22 winter cruise season between November and March. Another 100 cruise calls are scheduled for 2022, mostly by cruise ships homeporting in Dubai.

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