Qatar has confirmed it will allow visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries, effective immediately.
The news comes as the destination seeks to diversify its tourism opportunities amid a continuing blockade from rivals in the Middle East.
Citizens of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are currently barred from visiting the country, hitting the domestic tourism market.
As a result, citizens from a host of new countries wishing to visit Qatar will no longer need to apply or pay for a visa.
Instead, a multi-entry waiver will be issued free-of-charge at the port of entry, upon presentation of a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months and a confirmed onward or return ticket.
Depending on the nationality of the visitor, the waiver will either be valid for 180 days, from the date of issue, and allow the visitor to spend a total of 90 days in Qatar (multiple-entry waiver); or it will be valid for 30 days from the date of issue and entitle the visitor to spend up to 30 days in Qatar.
The latter case will then be offered the possibility of applying for an extension of the waiver for an additional 30 days (multiple-entry waiver).
These developments come as part of a series of measures that Qatar has taken to facilitate visitor access to the country.
Last month, Qatar launched an e-visa platform through which travellers of all nationalities can apply for tourist and visitor visas with more efficiency and ease.
According to Hassan Al Ibrahim, chief tourism development officer at Qatar Tourism Authority, visa facilitation is a critical component of the national tourism sector strategy, which QTA is currently reviewing in partnership with stakeholders from the public and private sectors.
With renewed focus by the country’s leadership on diversifying the national economy, a revised strategy which empowers various players to boost the growth of tourism is set to be launched on September 27th, when Qatar hosts the official celebrations of World Tourism Day.
“Easing entry to Qatar is a key enabler for the growth of Qatar’s tourism industry. With this announcement we are already turning the pages of the Next Chapter of Qatar’s journey towards 2030,” commented Al Ibrahim.
“Together with our partners in the public and private sectors, we have examined all of the elements needed to create a smooth and enticing experience that can attract visitors from around the world.
“There is no doubt that facilitating and streamlining access at all ports of entry are key factors in creating a positive first and lasting impression of Qatar.”