The latest data from Qatar Tourism shows that the country welcomed 253,191 cruise tourists during the 2022/2023 cruise season (December 2022 - April 2023), an increase of 151 percent compared to the same period last season (100,500 cruise tourists), as Qatar continues to strengthen its position as a global tourist destination, supported by many leading tourist attractions and a series of festivals and events.
This significant growth in total visitor numbers is substantial given that this year's cruise season started later than usual (i.e., in December instead of October) as the Port of Doha welcomed floating hotels to accommodate visitors and fans coming to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
It was noted that this season, 20 percent of cruise ship visitors came from flights departing and returning from Doha. This is a significant increase of 790 percent compared to the previous season, which saw only 4,172 passengers on such flights. Additionally, Qatar received 54 cruise ship visits during the 2022/2023 season, a 59 percent increase from last year, whether in transit or round trips.
During this season, Qatar has seen an increase in visitors from Germany (31%), Italy (10%), Russia (6%), and the United Kingdom (3%). The development of Doha Port has allowed for a 100% increase in the number of superships received this season, with 44 ships arriving compared to 22 in the previous season. MSC World Europe brought the most visitors through 13 voyages.
Qatar's cruise sector has shown remarkable resilience and growth in recent years. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Qatar has seen a steady increase in the number of cruise ships received and the number of visitors on board. The cruise sector promises further growth in the coming seasons.
Qatar's growing cruise sector has become a vital pillar of the country's efforts to achieve the goals of its long-term tourism strategy. This is evidenced by the extensive renovation of Doha Port, which can now accommodate two superships at a time and up to 12 000 cruise tourists per day.
The upcoming cruise season, starting on October 8, 2023, will welcome passengers arriving at Qatar's Doha Port with a state-of-the-art terminal building.