Doha: Qatar welcomed 1.4 million visitors in the first six months of 2016, including 665,355 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals, according to Qatar Tourism Authority’s (QTA) Tourism Performance Summary for the First Half (H1) of 2016.
Saudi Arabia remains the largest source market and is also responsible for the bulk of the growth recorded in the number of GCC visitor arrivals, bringing to Qatar 39,650 additional Saudi visitors, representing 10% of the growth. Some additional substantial growth was evident also from the U.A.E. (13%), while arrivals from Bahrain also increased marginally (1%).
According to the report, the overall number of visitors is 6% lower than recorded in the first half of 2015. The timing of Ramadan, which this year began early in June compared to mid-June last year, has had a clear impact on arrivals for the second quarter, however August performance is expected to be supported by the Qatar Summer Festival which will run for the duration of the month. The Festival has been designed to attract visits at a traditionally off-peak period in Qatar’s hospitality and retail sectors, with hotel and shopping promotions, cultural performances and sports events that will drive footfall to establishments and venues.