The largest private residential ship on the planet, "The World", docked at Doha Port on Tuesday, marking the start of Qatar’s 2016/2017 cruise season.
Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) offered a traditional welcome to the passengers who live on board the luxury cruise ship as it travels to various to parts of the world. It will stay in Doha for two days before sailing to Muscat.
In a press statement, QTA said passengers of The World will be the first to receive a “seamless tourist experience” during their visit to Qatar’s tourist destinations.
The new entry procedure provides tourists with ease in disembarking as they arrive at Doha Port so they can maximise the enjoyment of their trip in the country.
QTA explained that The World is home to 165 residences with patrons from 45 countries staying in most ports for several days. Some residents live on board full time while many of them visit occasionally throughout the year.
The residential yacht is one of the 32 ships registered to arrive at Qatar’s shores for this cruise season from October to April next year, carrying more than 50,000 passengers.
According to QTA, the number of cruise ships represents a three-fold increase compared to the last season’s figure.
As it expects an increase in the number of tourists from various parts of the world in the coming months, QTA has vowed to work hard in making their stay in Qatar a memorable one.
Tourism officials are also closely co-ordinating with their partners to ensure visitors get a taste of authentic Qatari hospitality.
Citing that its overseas offices in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Singapore, America and the GCC are doing very well, QTA expressed confidence that more cruise passengers from these countries will visit Qatar soon.
During the 2015/2016 cruise season, more than 4,000 tourist visas had been issued to cruise passengers from the 10 ships, which docked at Doha Port.
The Japanese "Peace Ship", German MS Artania, and the American MV Seabourn Sojourn are among the ships that made their maiden voyages to Qatar last season.
QTA’s chief tourism development officer Hassan al-Ibrahim said that cruise tourism forms an important part of their strategy to increase the number of visitor arrivals to Qatar.
Part of this strategy is to build and develop more tourism infrastructures in the country to welcome visitors.
“That is why we are placing great emphasis on streamlining all processes related to cruise as well as developing the sector’s capacity to welcome a large number of passengers,” the official added.
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