The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), Qatar’s Ministry of Interior (MoI), and Qatar Airways have declared that Qatar will permit visa-free entry for citizens of 80 nations including India as of now. There will be no longer need to apply or pay for a visa to visit Qatar for the citizens of all those countries. As an alternative, a multi-entry waiver will be issued complimentary at the port of entry, ahead presentation of a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months and a confirmed onward or return ticket.
This waiver will be valid either for 180 days, from the date of issue, and allow the tourist to spend a total of 90 days in Qatar (multiple-entry waiver), or this will be legitimate for 30 days from the date of issue and allow the visitor to spend up to 30 days in Qatar with the possibility of applying for an expansion of the waiver for an extra 30 days (depending on the nationality of the visitor). These entire developments have taken place as Qatar has taken steps to promote visitors access to their country. Qatar also launched an e-visa a month ago, with which travelers any nationality can apply for the tourist and visitor visa without any hassle and worry.
They are also considering additional upgrades to its visa policy, for example, postponing visa necessities for holders of a resident permit or a valid visa from the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the Schengen countries. This waiver will also allow appropriate travelers to get an electronic travel authorization just by filling a simple online application at least 48 hours before travel. The group chief executive of Qatar Airways, Akbar Al Baker, said, “This announcement places Qatar as the most open country in the region. This is a momentous occasion for Qatar, making the number of nationalities eligible to enter our country without a visa the highest in the region, which is something that we are very proud of.”
“Qatar Airways is the patriotic flag carrier for Qatar and as such we are extremely honored to bring millions of people each year to our beautiful, welcoming and historic country. This important initiative from the Ministry of Interior and Qatar Tourism Authority will provide an opportunity to welcome even more visitors, from even more countries, to experience the many exciting attractions that await them,” he added. As per the chief tourism development officer at QTA, Hassan Al Ibrahim, visa assistance is a critical segment of the national tourism sector strategy, which QTA is at present evaluating in partnership with partners from the private and public sectors. With restored focus by the country’s leadership on boosting the nation’s economy, a revised strategy which enables different players to support the development of tourism is all set to be launched on September 27, 2017, when Qatar officially celebrates the 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. 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,” Al Ibrahim said. The director general – department of passport and expatriates affairs, MoI, Brigadier Mohammed Al Ateeq, asserted, “Together with our partners at QTA and Qatar Airways, we have been working to enhance our country’s visa policies and implement solutions to better facilitate travel to Qatar. Further enhancements are being studied and we look forward to announcing them in due course.”
Qatar had also launched a free transit visa in November 2016, which allows travelers from all countries traveling in Qatar for at least five hours to stay in Qatar for approximate four days. In an initiative to advance the nation as a stopover destination, in May 2017, QTA introduced PlusQatar, with the national carrier, Qatar Airways. Talking about these measures by the Qatar, including international marketing, has brought in a 39 percent increase in the number of stopover visitors amid the first six months of 2017, compared with the same period last year.