Qatar is looking to target Indian travellers with health and educational tourism as it seeks to maintain momentum with tourism arrivals after hosting the FIFA World Cup.
The country welcomed more than 3.4 million visitors to watch the World Cup in November 2022, with international arrivals continuing to flock to Qatar. According to official figures, 559,063 people arrived by air alone on January 3, marking a 64.4 per cent increase compared to the previous year.
At the Arabian Travel Market, Qatar Airways’ group CEO, Akbar Al Baker, remarked that Qatar remains relatively unknown to the Indian market at the moment, which presents huge potential for the nation.
“India is a huge market… unfortunately, many Indians have not yet discovered my country,” he said. “People who have come from the subcontinent to Qatar are so excited by it that they keep on coming, and we need to spread the word to the whole of India.”
Bakar shared that a famous Bollywood actor is currently filming in the country, which could be a draw to attract Indian tourists to Qatar. He anticipates the destination to be on Indian travellers’ radar once the film is released.
He opined that “Qatar has a value that India has not yet seen”, with golfing facilities, cultural, archaeological and historical sites, museums, beaches and nature, as well as its world-class medical and educational tourism offerings.
With the goal of encouraging more Indians to come for medical and educational tourism, Bakar noted: “We’re the only country in the region that has all of the major US educational institutions (as well as) world-class hospitals and medical facilities.”
In addition, he said that India sits close to Qatar, with a flight time of about three to four hours. Not only that, since December last year, Indian travellers enjoy a free 30-day visa-on-arrival.