Qatar will open its new cruise terminal next summer, hoping to persuade ships to homeport there.
The new Doha Grand Cruise Terminal is being constructed from a former shipping container facility in the centre of the city. Currently, cruise ships use Hamad Port, where cargo ships dock, around 15 minutes from the centre.
Philip Dickinson, Qatar Tourism’s vice president international markets, said the revamped pier would enable tourists to easily access the heart of Doha.
“You will be able to walk from there into the souk,” he said.
The pier will accommodate two large vessels at the same time, with a National Gallery, aquarium and botanical gardens planned as attractions for the general public.
“The plan is to try and get more ships to homeport,” said Dickinson. “We already have the airline and the product to offer pre and post cruise stays.
“We had 190,000 cruise passengers in 2019, but it was transit business, in and out.”
Other developments in Doha include Place Vendome, a “Parisian-inspired” upmarket shopping and entertainment mall due to open in the Lusail district, one of the 2022 World Cup venues.
Qatar plans to triple global arrivals by 2030 on the back of the massive exposure it will receive during the football tournament next year. The tiny country received 2.1 million visitors in 2019 and is building more than 100 hotels.
Dickinson said the UK was in its top four source markets with around 120,000 visitors.
“We would be looking to get that above 300,000. I don’t think that’s over ambitious – nearly 40 million transited in 2019.”