Qatar has prior experience of navigating its tourism industry through difficult times. Industry experts are confident that Qatar will bounce back.
Qatar , Qatar
18 July 2020, 12:00 AM
31 July 2020, 12:00 AM
COVID-19 has undoubtedly had a massive impact on the global tourism industry. While Qatar’s tourism sector remains small by comparison, there can be no denying that it has also taken a hit. However, this is not the first time the country has confronted an existential challenge to this increasingly important economic activity.
Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2022 nevertheless underlines why its tourist industry needs to make as full a recovery as possible from COVID-19.
In keeping with governments around the world, Qatar has initiated general support and subsidized loan programs to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on business revenues. The country can also draw inspiration from a number of international efforts to restart the global tourism sector.
These include 23 actionable recommendations developed by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, accelerate recovery through national policies and build resilience through lessons learned.
Meanwhile, Qatar has prior experience of navigating its tourism industry through difficult times. Tourist arrivals have nevertheless diminished in recent years due to the reduction of visitors from the states involved in the ongoing blockade of Qatar. According to the Qatar Planning and Statistics Authority, arrivals from the Arab world declined by 76% between 2016 and 2019.
Qatar has responded with a strategy to diversify tourist arrivals and new tourism markets. After the blockade, nationals from 80 countries were granted visa-free entry into the country. The development of the Qatar National Museum and other tourist attractions was also expedited. High-profile marketing campaigns such as Qatar Airways’ “A World like Never Before” continue to highlight the diversity of the country’s tourist sector. Such initiatives undoubtedly contributed to a 38% increase in tourist arrivals from other parts of the world between 2016 and 2019.
Qatar’s response to the blockade offers key insights into how tourism can get back on track once the worst of COVID-19 is over.