The current season started last week when Fred Olsen’s Boudicca docked at Doha Port. It will finish in April 2019 with a total of 140,000 cruise visitors.
Of the 43 ships scheduled to call in Doha Port, ten will be making their maiden calls to Qatar.
In addition to being a record season for calls and visitors the arrival of two cruise ships at Doha Port at the same time – an occurrence that is due to happen five times throughout this season – is a first for Qatar.
More firsts this season
Hassan Al Ibrahim, acting chairman at Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) commented, ‘It continues to be an exciting period of rapid growth for Qatar’s cruise tourism sector, which will witness more firsts this season.
‘We are pleased to see our local partners join in our efforts to develop services and products specifically for cruise visitors,’ he continued.
‘We look forward to continue drawing a growing number of visitors to Qatar's shores to enjoy the country's pleasant winter weather.’
QTA and Qatar's major transport services provider, Mowasalat recently signed an MoU to further develop tourist transport services, ensuring the growth in cruise tourism demand is matched with flexible and reliable transportation.
QTA is working with local and international partners to plan, develop and manage Doha’s cruise terminal facilities, infrastructure and operations needed to achieve sustainable growth.
Qatar is expecting to welcome 200,000 cruise visitors by the 2019/20 season and has plans to turn Doha into a turnaround port as well as trabsit destination.
QTA recently signed an agreement with AIDA Cruises and Costa Cruises to include Qatar on their winter itineraries in the Middle East as well as to cooperate in designing special promotion packages for passengers.
As part of the agreements, AIDAprima and Costa Mediterranea are expected to call in Doha Port for the first time this season and between them the two cruise lines will bring up to a quarter of this season's passengers to Doha.