By: Eman Ghaly
Mubasher: The number of non-residents traveling to Qatar witnessed a 31.2% year-on-year drop over the first seven months of 2018, as the GCC arrivals dropped on the back of the gas-rich nation’s diplomatic crisis with four Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia.
The number of travelers recorded 1.08 million during the period between January and July, compared to 1.57 million in the same period of the previous year, according to the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics’ (MDPS) monthly report.
As for visitors from GCC nations, they slid 95.1% to 118,600 over the seven-month period ended in July, from 656,700 in the same period a year earlier.
Similarly, Arab countries’ visitors to Qatar retreated 40.4% to only 72,600.
Meanwhile, visitors from Europe to the Persian Gulf nation rose 8.5% to 310,500, while travelers from the US grew 1.9% to 97,500, according to the ministry's data.
It is worth noting that Qatar’s tourism sector has been negatively affected by the Arab rift, which led the country to set a strategy to attract around 5.6 million visitors by 2023.
In August 2017, Qatar’s Tourism Authority decided exempting around 80 nationalities from visas to be able to enter the country.
Since 5 June 2017, Qatar has been facing outflows of foreign customers' deposits after four Arab countries - Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt - cut their diplomatic and trade ties with the gas-rich state, accusing Qatar of financing terrorism. Doha forcefully denies the charges.
Translated by: Kholoud Mohamed Hussein