As global travel and tourism head towards the pre-pandemic mark, travellers from Qatar are also not left out, as top tourist spots in Europe and Asia have seen visitors from Doha an increase.
According to industry experts, Turkiye, the UK, Germany, and Thailand are some of the most sought-after destinations by travellers from Qatar.
Speaking to The Peninsula about the latest travel trends, Irfan Omer, Operations Manager at Happy Journey Travels, said besides the usual relaxation trips, medical tourism has also picked up, with Turkiye and Thailand leading the desired destination from Qatar.
“Nowadays, people are mostly travelling to Turkiye, the UK, Germany and Thailand – mostly countries without any travel restrictions,” Omer said.
Turkiye has always been an attractive travel option for visitors from Qatar. Istanbul, Antalya, Izmir and Cappadocia are some of the top-visited places. Cities like London, Munich and Bangkok also welcome a host of tourists from Qatar and the region.
“The travel market is booming again, and both November and December last year were good for incoming visitors due to the World Cup and many Qataris and residents travelled out of the country. January looks promising as well.
“Qataris now mainly travel to Turkiye and Thailand for medical reasons, especially for check-ups and treatment. London is also an option and receives a significant number of applicants. It is safe to say everything is fine with travel,” he added.
Turkiye is one of the world’s leading destinations for medical tourism. In 2022, state-owned healthcare company International Health Services (USHAS) said the country generated $1.6bn from medical tourism in the first nine months of 2022. The transcontinental country is famous for providing services like gynaecology, internal diseases, ophthalmology, general surgery, dentistry, orthopaedics and traumatology, infectious diseases and ear, nose, and throat problems for international patients. Around 876,000 foreign medical tourists visited Turkiye in the first nine months of 2022, USHAS stated.
Meanwhile, Thailand recently announced that it would start issuing one-year visas to people seeking medical treatment.
The Southeast Asian nation’s competent health professionals as well as international standard hospitals and relatively inexpensive costs for medical expenses, have made it an attractive destination for cosmetic treatment and other procedures.
On the other hand, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) recently disclosed that tourism was on track to reach almost two-thirds of pre-pandemic levels.
According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, recovery was at higher levels in Europe. A per the report, the Middle East also recovered strongly, with a 225 per cent increase in arrivals in January-to-September 2022, compared with the same period last year, reaching 77 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
However, the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 saw increased tourists to the Gulf region. Kuwait-based think-tank CSRGulf put the number of visitors at over 2.5 million during the tournament.