Qatar’s annual summer exodus appears to have been put on hold at least until Eid, as the latest official population figures show that just 30,000 people left the country last month.
Although most schools wound up their academic year before the end of June, an earlier start to Ramadan in the middle of the month may have encouraged residents to delay their mid-year holidays until later in the summer rather than head off as soon as term finished.
Taking into account those who went on vacation or left the country for good during the month, this means there were still nearly 193,000 more people living in Qatar last month compared to June 2014, showing a increase of almost nine percent year-on-year.
This tallies with the average population rises throughout 2015 so far, where figures show a rise of 9-10 percent each month, compared to the previous year.
The lower numbers of people leaving the country last month is broadly in line with a similar trend in June 2014, when just 20,000 people decided to depart the shores.
In contrast, MDPS figures showed that nearly a quarter of a million (230,000 people) left the country the following month, as the state’s population hit an annual low after Eid al Fitr.
Previously, June had been a popular month for people to escape the heat to go on vacation or visit family and friends in cooler climes.
Figures for June 2012 show that 73,390 people exited the country that month. As the state’s overall population was much lower then, at 1.72 million, the number of those leaving accounted for a higher percentage.
Meanwhile, in June 2013, 47,000 people were recorded as leaving the country, out of a population of 1.91 million.
Ramadan in Qatar
Among the attractions for those opting to stay in Qatar during Ramadan are shorter working hours for many, which often results in more time to spend socializing with family and friends.
Those fasting often cite Qatar as an easier place to be during Ramadan than in Europe or North America, where summer daylight hours are much longer.
However, it means that residents will have to put up with busier roads, malls and amenities for at least a little while longer.
Meanwhile, those due to travel around Eid should prepare for queues and build in extra time for their journey at Hamad International Airport.
Last month, the Ministry of Interior issued a list of travel tips to make residents’ journeys go more smoothly during the summer rush.
What are your summer plans? Thoughts?