New free transit visa on arrival scheme soon at HIA

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The new transit visa scheme ‘is in the process of being put into effect,’ Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) told Gulf Times.

Once in place, transit visas will be available to Qatar Airways (QA) passengers of all nationalities, free of charge, QTA explained.

While passengers will not be required to apply for the transit visa in advance, QTA stressed they should check with their nearest QA office if it has come into effect before planning to travel via Doha.

“If the new transit visa scheme has not come into effect by the time they are due to travel via Doha, passengers should apply for a tourist visa in advance through QA,” QTA noted.

Some 38 nationalities are eligible for visa on arrival in Qatar at a cost of QR100, which they can pay at the Hamad International Airport (HIA), according to QTA.

These countries are: Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey (visa free), the UK, the US, and Vatican City.

QTA, in partnership with Qatar’s Ministry of Interior and QA, wants to entice a substantial number of the 30mn passengers passing through HIA annually to take the opportunity of visiting Qatar’s tourist destinations.

The move, aimed at further increasing the number of tourist arrivals to Qatar, forms part of QTA’s efforts to promote the country as a world-class stopover destination.

QTA also wants to provide tourists, including cruise passengers, with “seamless tourist experience” from disembarking at point of entry to their trip to various places in Qatar.

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Doha Port recently welcomed the largest private residential ship on the planet, ‘The World,’ which is home to 165 residences with patrons from 45 countries. It is the first of the 32 registered ships expected to arrive at Qatar’s shores for this cruise season. Passengers were treated with authentic Qatari hospitality, including traditional performances and food.

Azamara Journey will be the second cruise ship to dock at Doha Port. The vessel is to arrive on October 31, Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani Qatar) said.

The ship departed from Dubai, Port Rashid on October 25 and it is expected to reach at Muscat, Oman today at 10pm. From Muscat, it will sail to Bahrain before coming to Doha.

Built in 2000, Azamara Journey was last refurbished this year and has a maximum passenger capacity of 780 and 400 crew members.

QTA’s chief tourism development officer Hassan al-Ibrahim earlier said that in the near future, international cruise passengers could fly to Qatar, enter using a transit visa, and begin and end their cruise in Doha. [Gulftimes]

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