DEREGULATING DOHA

Qatar seeks to ‘liberate’ hotel industry in push for tourists

Qatar’s strategic plan calls for tourism to contribute 12% to GDP as Gulf neighbors Saudi Arabia and the UAE also invest heavily in luring visitors

People gather at the Corniche promenade in Doha, Qatar (Getty Images).

Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup soccer tournament ignited tourism in 2022 and officials say they hope to stoke the industry further through deregulation.

By changing rules on licensing and operating hours, the Gulf state expects to generate a new bounty of international visitors, Saad bin Ali Al Kharji, Chairman of Qatar Tourism told Bloomberg in an interview.

“We will try to liberate the hospitality sector and remove any obstacles,” he said.

Defying expectations of a downturn following the World Cup, incoming arrivals to Qatar swelled 39% to 4 million tourists last year from 2022.

Qatar’s strategic plan calls for tourism to contribute 12% to GDP as Gulf neighbors Saudi Arabia and the UAE also invest heavily in the industry.

The Gulf Cooperation Council plans to offer a regional visa soon that would grant tourists access to all six of its member nations.

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