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Friday, July 30, 2021

Qatar back as top destination for Saudi travellers

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Saudi holiday makers return to Doha after borders reopen.

There has been a 70.5% increase in travellers from Saudi Arabia to Qatar who are looking for a short holiday, according to travel digital marketing platform, Sojern. The sharp rise comes after Riyadh decided to reopen its land and air borders with Doha earlier this year.

The platform’s figures showed that 35.8% of Saudi tourists are looking to book short local trips of up to one night, with 25.35% looking for stays of up to three days, however, with quarantine restrictions still in force due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, short stays are impossible as all travellers coming into Qatar must quarantine for a minimum of secen days upon arrival. 

The research also showed that 41.45% of Saudis searching online are booking trips with only two to seven days’ notice before travelling. 

“This potentially highlights interest in the new opportunities to travel across the borders presented by relations being restored… A positive increase in search volume to Qatar in the last 14 days from Saudi Arabia can be observed as compared to the searches in the last 28 days,” Sojern said in a blog analysing the first two weeks of 2021.

“Luxury travellers from the Middle East are more likely to travel with their children, compared with those from other regions (40% versus 36%). And when you add that fact to their planned frequency of travel, it makes the Middle East’s outbound luxury-travel sector one of the most sought after globally,” said Danielle Curtis, exhibition director Middle East for Arabian Travel Market. 

According to their survey, Middle East luxury travellers prioritise natural beauty (34%), beach holidays (34%), a pleasant climate (29%), and connectivity (28%) when selecting a holiday destination. Their main concerns when traveling are health risks (43%) and safety (35%). 

The hospitality and real estate sectors in Qatar have shown resilience in 2020, according to a report by ValuStrat, the Middle East’s leading consulting firm and advisory group.

Between January and June, nearly 1,000 hotel keys were added to the country’s growing list and some 21,500 rooms are currently under construction, it said.

Earlier this year, the government announced a stimulus package of QR75bn to support and provide relief to those impacted the most by the effects of COVID-19. The move helped several big and small businesses tackle financial loss due to the economic situation in the country. 

According to the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC), the total stock by the end of 2019 was 27,261 keys (130 hotels and hotel apartments). Out of the 27,261 keys, 24,562 are hotel rooms and 2,699 are hotel apartments.


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