Artistes performing at Souq Waqif as part of Spring Festival 2013, yesterday. (Abdul Basit)
Doha: Qatar has become one of the main tourist destinations for families in the GCC, many of whom like to spend their weekends here.
Public venues such as Katara and Souq Waqif have been attracting many tourists, particularly because of the pleasant weather at this time of the year.
Ahmed Abdullah, a Qatari, says the Sea Line beach become increasingly popular in the region.
“I see many families coming here on the weekends from the neighbouring countries,” he said.
The total number of tourists coming to Qatar increased up to 60 percent in 2012. In terms of GCC tourists visiting Qatar, the growth rate was over 22 percent during the first quarter of 2012, according to the Qatar Tourism Authority.
The number of overseas tourists, especially from Asia, is also on the rise. Asian tourists visiting Qatar registered the highest growth rate with a total of 36,385 visitors in the first quarter of 2012, followed by European tourists with a total of 10,456.
Abdullah, however, says that the local restaurants and hotels should not look at the rising number of tourists as an opportunity to increase prices.
“Tourists should not be exploited by anyone,” he said.
Another national, Mohammad Abdullah, argues that most of the hotels are fully booked this time of the year primarily by people coming from the GCC.
“It is good to see Qatar putting up a strong competition in the tourism industry of the GCC,” he said.
Meanwhile, the number of tourists coming to Qatar is likely to increase by 1.9 percent annually until 2022, according to a survey by Reed Exhibitions, a leading event organising company in the world
The on-going infrastructure projects as well as the focus on tourism industry, will give impetus to the hospitality business in Qatar, the study reveals.
“The number of tourists in Qatar is going to increase up to 3.7 million by 2022,” the company said in a statement.