Expect to see more tourists around town as the 2019-2020 cruise tourism season has officially started in Qatar. 

Welcoming cruise passengers from around the world to witness all that Qatar has to offer, the country has opened a temporary passenger terminal at Doha Port.

The terminal was inaugurated yesterday, just as thousands of passengers disembarked from the mega-ship Mein Schiff 5.

The passenger-ship is the first of 74 ships expected in Qatar’s fourth and largest cruise tourism season.

The country expects a 66 percent increase in the number of ships arriving in Qatar in comparison to the last season.

Spread over 6000 square meters, the new facility at Doha Port will act as a temporary terminal for the next two seasons until the completion of Doha Port’s expansion plan, expected to be completed in 2022.

Cruise passengers transiting through the terminal will experience the same level of services and facilities as passengers do at the Hamad International Airport.

These include seamless immigration and customs, foreign exchange, taxi and bus stands, Duty-Free Shops, cafe, waiting areas for cruise passengers and staff as well as city tours and other tourist information services.

According to His Excellency the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim bin Saif Al Sulaiti, the opening of the new temporary terminal will support the country’s strategy to develop cruise tourism.

‘Doha Port is playing a key role in reinforcing Qatar’s position as an attractive tourist destination through securing and receiving international cruise ships, as well as providing all the facilities necessary for the growth of a sector that is considered a key contributor to the economic diversity pursued by Qatar National Vision 2030,” HE the Minister said.

HE Akbar Al Baker, Secretary-General of Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, explained that this will be the first season in which Doha acts as a turnaround port for cruise ships, with passengers beginning and ending their journey in Qatar.

“The port will host 16 turnaround calls, giving passengers ample time to explore the destination. In addition, nine ships will dock overnight during the season,” he said.

As a result of various initiatives by QNTC and its partners, Qatars cruise industry has seen remarkable growth during the last few years.

The 2018/19 cruise tourism season achieved 121 percent growth in the number of cruise passengers and 100 percent growth in the number of cruise ships.

The previous season also recorded significant increases in the numbers of German (144%), Italian (93%) and British (22.5%) tourists arriving aboard cruise ships compared to the 2017/18 season.

Added to the list were Russian tourists, whose numbers grew significantly by 257 percent in Qatar as a cruise destination compared to the previous season, making them the fourth largest nationality.

The top ten nationalities aboard cruise ships also included Americans and Mexicans.

The 2019/20 season is expected to be even bigger, with over 186,000 passengers and over 61,000 crew expected to arrive in the country.

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