Visits of GCC nationals to Qatar continued to increase in August, with year-to-date arrivals growing by 7% compared to the same period in 2015, a Qatar Tourism Authority report has shown. Overall, total visitor arrivals in the month of August increased by 2% compared to August 2015. The growth in year-to-date (January to end of August) visitor arrivals from the GCC was dominated by visits from nationals of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which increased by 9% and 11% respectively, compared to 2015. Visits from Bahrain nationals were up as well by 2%; while visits from nationals of Oman and Kuwait were down by -6% and -1% respectively.
Meanwhile, visitors entering the country on the Qatar-Oman tourist visa increased by 2% year-to-date in comparison to the same period in 2015. Visitors who are nationals of the Americas also increased by 6% between January and August 2016 compared to the same period in 2015.
August is typically an off-peak month with declines in visitor arrivals compared to the rest of the year. The increase in arrivals this August, compared to August of last year, comes after efforts to incentivize travel to Qatar through Qatar Summer Festival promotions and entertainment activities. These included special packages from 56 hotel establishments, shopping promotions in malls across Qatar, and entertainment events throughout the month, including the Doha Comedy Festival.
QTA projections point to further modest increases in visitor arrivals in the coming months, supported by September’s Eid Celebrations in Qatar and the docking of the first cruise ship of the season in October.