Qatar’s population continued to fall in July, as many residents left the country on vacation or for good.
There were 2,471,919 people inside of Qatar at the end of last month, new government statistics show. That’s down 73,901 from June, setting a new low for the year.
But the population is still up 145,454 or 6 percent from July 2016.
Summer is a quiet time in Qatar due to school holidays and people traveling to escape the heat.
Things usually get busier toward the end of August before classes resume.
However, Eid Al Adha is expected to be around Aug. 31 this year, so people may postpone returning to Qatar until after the holiday.
Another unknown is what impact the ongoing boycott against Qatar by its neighbors will have on the population.
The blockade began in early June and now continues into its third month, with no end in sight.
Before it started, visitor arrivals increased 1.5 percent during the first six months of the year, compared to the same time in 2016, Qatar’s Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics (MDPS) said.
One area the boycott is quantifiably affecting Qatar is its imports.
Due to land, sea and airspace restrictions, food, construction and other imports fell dramatically in June, according to the MDPS.
This is despite the fact that it was Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr, which is generally a time when food consumption peaks in Qatar.
Imports were valued at QR9.5 billion in June. That’s down 40 percent from the same time last year and 38 percent from May, the Financial Times reports.
However, since the blockade started, Qatar has turned to new supply chains to get goods into the country, including shipping through Oman.