Eid Holiday Travel Demand Rise

Georgia and Armenia continue to be popular destinations for Qatari residents, we learned, while Turkey and several European countries top the list of Qataris’ travel, especially during short vacations like Eid.

“Georgia and Armenia have been booming among expat communities for a few years now,” Tawfeeq Travel Group managing director Rehan Ali Syed told The *Gulf Times. “Various agencies offer 4-5 day fixed departure tours in both countries during the Eid holidays.”
He noted that the biggest unique selling points of these destinations are short flights and visa-free entry for Qataris and residents, in addition to their good weather and nature.
Besides tourism, Syed said members of Asian communities are also exploring higher education opportunities, primarily in Georgia.
“So travelers are not just going to enjoy the vacation, but also explore what else the country has to offer,” he said.
During the upcoming Eid break, he noted that Qatar’s most emerging destinations were Dubai, Georgia, Turkey and Phuket (Thailand) for expat communities.
Many Qataris, Syed added, opt for Umrah.
Otherwise, places like Turkey, Dubai, Greece, Sarajevo, Maldives and Seychelles are some of the key destinations for short vacations.
“This season will eventually give a boost to summer bookings and emerging travel trends in the market,” the official said. “Everyone is looking for a stress buster where they can spend quality time with family, and all of these destinations provide you with a tailored experience.”
Besides looking for unique experiences, Syed said many travelers are also willing to explore new places that are easily accessible and affordable, especially for a short stay, in addition to being a safe destination.
“Turkey (as a travel destination) has really grown because of its ease of access with multiple entry points and varied offerings for all age groups,” he said. “In the case of Europe, getting a visa appointment is not easy, and (the process) can take 1-2 weeks minimum, which can hamper travel plans.”
“Now travelers are more educated…they do research before they book their vacations, and one of the most important criteria is whether they can get a visa on arrival,” said Syed said.
Two European countries – Spain and Switzerland – are among the few destinations that have seen significant tourism growth in recent years and would continue to attract visitors from Qatar in a post-coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic era, according to the manager.
“The Qatari traveler is all about luxury, and these destinations are known to raise the bar with their overall natural beauty and availability of various sporting activities like skiing, mountain hiking, reindeer sledding and others,” said Syed said.

Sreekanth Menon, managing director of popular online travel portal Musafir.com, which specializes in budget vacation packages, shared a similar view, saying visa-free destinations for Qataris and expats such as Georgia and Armenia – with the exception of Azerbaijan and Eastern European countries like Serbia – have a huge appeal for expats in Qatar.
He said people prefer package tours to individual trips because they get “everything on one plate,” like hotel reservations and airfares, among other deals, at a much lower rate.
“A normal plane ticket to Georgia would be much more expensive than a package tour, and there are many different packages,” Menon said. “People are also working on a budget, which is a big concern for everyone these days. That’s why most of them go on package tours.
He said cities like London and Paris, and countries like Spain and Switzerland, as well as beach destinations like the Maldives, continue to attract Qataris.
African destinations like Kenya and Tanzania – which were already popular even in the pre-Covid-19 pandemic era due to safari adventures and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro – are again seeing increasing numbers of visitors Qataris, according to Menon.
However, he said travel demand from Qatar to a number of countries in other regions like Asia had dropped due to health restrictions and pre-arrival procedures.
“People need to feel fully confident and secure with their choice of destination,” he said. “They are looking for hassle-free travel – not only for visas but also for procedures, which are slightly complicated in other destinations.”

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