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Qatar set for record-breaking cruise season as tourism plan takes shape

Qatar, Doha, new cruise season

Qatar has officially kicked off its 2023/24 cruise season, following the arrival of Crystal Symphony in Doha.

The new season, which will run to April 2024, is expected to be Qatar’s best yet, with more than 75 ships and approximately 350,000 passengers calling in Doha.

Over the course of the next few months, ships such as Norwegian Dawn and Le Bougainville will be making their debuts in Qatar, with both ships operating as full homeporting vessels embarking from Doha.

In addition, several other ships will continue to offer partial turnaround services, including Mein Schiff 2, MSC Virtuosa and Costa Toscana.

Qatar Tourism chairman Saad Bin Ali Al Kharji said: “Cruise tourism is an important pillar through which Qatar will fulfil its national tourism strategy to become one of the world’s leading destinations.

“Qatar’s cruise sector has grown strongly in less than a decade, owing to Qatar Tourism’s presence in international cruise and travel exhibitions, signed partnerships and agreements, investments in personnel and our collaboration with important public and private stakeholders in Qatar.

“We look forward to a new cruise season with visitors from around the world who will have the opportunity to experience Qatar’s hospitality and diverse tourism offering.”

Qatar building on cruise success

Mwani Qatar CEO Abdullah Mohammed Al-Khanji added: “The new cruise terminal in the old Doha Port meets international standards and plays a significant role in promoting global marine tourism.

“It also helps consolidate Qatar’s position and maximise the growth of the tourism sector, which is one of the pillars of economic diversification that the Qatar National Vision 2030 aims to achieve.”

Qatar has seen a steady increase in cruise ship arrivals and passenger numbers over recent years.

The 2022/23 season concluded with a 151 per cent increase in visitors compared to the previous season, with 54 cruise visits and 253,191 cruise visitors.

Cruise passengers arriving through Doha Port are welcomed in a new Grand Terminal that features state-of-the-art facilities.

It can accommodate two megaships at a time and up to 12,000 people a day.

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