The Cruise Tourism Working Group in Qatar, consisting of Qatar Tourism, Permanent Committee for Handling Seaports, Immigration, Customs and Mwani, recently undertook a visit to Antalya Port in the Republic of Turkey. Delegations from both parties met to exchange expertise and experiences with the aim of optimising the operations and logistics of the cruise industry.
The week-long visit, which took place from September 12-15, 2023, was hosted by Q-terminals – the operator of Antalya Port. Discussions focused on various operational and logistical aspects, including passenger flow, entry procedures for transit and turnaround passengers, immigration protocols, and the delineation of responsibilities among the entities involved in cruise operations.
Abdulaziz Ali Al Mawlawi, Chief of Marketing and Promotion Officer at Qatar Tourism, said: “Cruise tourism is an important pillar through which Qatar will fulfil its national tourism strategy. With every season, Qatar’s cruise sector crosses new milestones, whether it is by the number of passengers, the debut of new ships to Doha Port, the introduction of new itineraries, or other important metrics. Working closely with international stakeholders allows us to exchange knowledge and best practices to help elevate the passenger experience. Through this exercise, we are not only enhancing the passenger journey but also ensuring the highest standards of security and safety are implemented in our cruise operations."
Dean and Head of the Permanent Committee for Managing Maritime, Dr. Abdul Hadi Mohammad Zaben Al-Dosari, said: “Qatar’s delegation toured the port of Antalya with the goal of sharing experiences and gaining insights into the port's operational procedures. The delegation received comprehensive briefings on the protocols for traveller entry and exit, port operations, the transit passenger flow system, and the various visas used at the port.”
Dr. Al-Dosari continued: “With the forthcoming commencement of the maritime tourism season in Qatar, the Permanent Committee, in collaboration with relevant entities, is fully prepared to receive cruise ships at the Doha Port and expedite passenger procedures. This coordinated effort involving all stakeholders operating at the Doha Port is aimed at ensuring the successful execution of the upcoming tourism season.”
The cruise industry in Qatar has become a vital component of Qatar's Tourism Strategy, with significant growth witnessed in recent years. Qatar welcomed 253,191 cruise visitors during its most recent cruise season (December 2022 – March 2023), an increase of 151% compared to the previous season (100,500 visitors).
Doha Port's strategic location in the heart of the city allows visitors to make the most out of their short stay in Doha. Visitors will find themselves at several of Doha’s most iconic attractions such as National Museum of Qatar, Souq Waqif, Msheireb Downtown Doha, or the Doha Corniche, within a short walk or drive. The port itself was recently renovated. Cruise passengers are now being welcomed in a brand-new Grand Terminal that features state-of-the-art facilities which can accommodate two megaships at a time, and up to 12,000 people a day.