Qatar Airways: exemption from entry visa for 80 nationalities
The aim of this measure is to stimulate tourism and air transport while Qatar, accused of “supporting terrorism”, has been isolated by its neighbors since June.
Qatar is trying to circumvent the isolation imposed on it by its neighbors in the Gulf. The country announced Wednesday (August 9th) that it abolished the entry visas on its territory for 80 nationalities. The announcement was made during a press conference by Qatar Airways boss Akbar Al-Baker and officials from the Department of Tourism and the Ministry of the Interior. The aim is to stimulate tourism and air transport.
“The visa exemption [for all 80 nationalities] will make Qatar the most open country in the region” to foreign visitors, Hassan Al-Ibrahim said. Unlike Dubai, Qatar does not have the reputation of being a top tourist destination.
For nationals of the 80 countries benefiting from the measure, it will be sufficient to present a valid passport on arrival to obtain the right to enter Qatar, said the representative of the Ministry of the Interior, Mohamed Rashed Al-Mazroui. The Lebanon is the only Arab countries outside the Gulf, to appear on this list. The European countries that are members of the Schengen area, as well as the Latin American and Asian countries, are also concerned.
This is a significant change when we know that the Gulf countries, including Qatar, generally require visas for foreigners and grant them according to restrictive criteria.
Two criteria: security and purchasing power
The Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Bahrain have broken off relations with Doha June 5 the. They have closed maritime, air or land borders with Qatar, which they accuse of “supporting terrorism” and of maintaining too close relations with Iran, Riyadh’s great rival. Qatar has rejected these charges altogether and has since multiplied its signals to the West.
Nationals from 33 countries will have the right to remain in the country for 180 days without a visa and those of the other 47 countries will be able to stay there without a visa for 30 days. This period will be renewable for one time only.
Two criteria were cited in particular by Mr. Al-Mazroui for the choice of nationalities. The first is of a security nature and the second of an economic nature, namely the purchasing power of visitors.
The boss of Qatar Airways welcomed the measure. For the current year, 62 new destinations will be opened, explained Mr. Baker, explaining that his network was constantly expanding.
On 3 August, Qatar had established a permanent resident status for three categories of foreigners, a first in the Arab countries of the Gulf. Benefit from this status are children born to Qatari mothers married to foreigners, foreigners “having served in Qatar” and those whose “skills can benefit the country”.