Doha: With more than 4 lakh Indian tourists visiting Qatar last year, Doha has emerged as one of the favourite travel destinations of Indian backpackers. The Arab country is expecting an equally good response during the upcoming tourism season, which starts in October if the prevailing coronavirus scare subsides globally.
Doha, the capital city of Qatar, is on the bucket list of Indian travellers along with places such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, Bangkok and Phuket in Thailand. The city was 15th on the dream destination list brought out by the Forbes magazine. A tourist will not have to ask for more as Qatar has an array of attractions including enchanting beaches, breathtaking sea tours, thrilling desert rides, refreshing night camps in deserts, enlightening historic spots, and mouth-watering traditional cuisines.
Pearl-Qatar, the man-made island, Souq Waqif, the age-old marketplace, Al Shaqab Racing Academy, an institution involved in breeding and training of Arabian horses, Islamic Museum, which reflects the Islamic history, National Museum, which tells the history and life of Qatar, cultural village and the stadiums that are gearing up for the 2022 FIFA World, among others are some of the places of interest for the tourists.
A marked increase in the number of tourists visiting Qatar was triggered by the move to provide on-arrival visas to travellers from 80 countries, including India. Many people, along with their families, had travelled to Qatar after directly availing the offers of airline companies.
It is also quite common for European tourists travelling on Qatar Airways flights to choose Qatar as their stopover. Most people take a five to a six-hour whirlwind tour of the Doha city or stay in Qatar for a week.
Last year, prominent Indian business families chose Qatar as their wedding destination. Quality basic facilities and hotels and restaurants that cater to all classes of travellers attract tourists to Qatar. Moreover, the flashy malls give a total shopping experience for the backpackers. Unlike other Arab countries, there isn’t any strict dress code for women or restriction on them travelling. Qatar is also a safe place for women who want to travel alone.
The Qatar tourism season is from October to April. Qatar is very much looking forward to hosting the soccer world cup in 2022, and the big-ticket event is an opportunity for the country to showcase its rich heritage before the world. And this Arab country is pulling out all the stops to make the FIFA World Cup a memorable one.