DOHA, Qatar – VFS Global is set to identify a streamlined tourist visa application process in Qatar. Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority signed today an agreement with VFS Global – leading provider of visa processing services – in the presence of Qatar’s Ministry of Interior. The agreement paves the way for an efficient and transparent tourist visa application system that caters to travellers from around the world looking to visit Qatar.
The agreement comes as Qatar steps up efforts to attract and welcome more visitors to Qatar in line with Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 (QNTSS).
The agreement will enable Qatar to identify and implement the ideal visa solutions for its visitors, while capitalising on VFS Global’s expertise in developing multi-platform visa services, and Qatar Airways’ extensive international footprint.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “Qatar Airways has been bringing tourists to Qatar for nearly two decades and today’s announcement marks another milestone in our commitment to making Doha a world-class tourist destination. Qatar’s tourism industry is experiencing exponential growth and the visa advancements announced today will further support our country’s vision to invite and welcome visitors from around the world to experience all that Qatar has to offer. We look forward to welcoming more passengers on-board, at Hamad International Airport and into Qatar, as a result of today’s initiative.
“I would like to sincerely thank the Ministry of Interior’s General Directorate of Nationality, Borders and Expatriates Affairs, and Qatar Tourism Authority for their partnership in making today’s announcement possible. This initiative is a great example of what we can accomplish by working together, and we have other initiatives planned to further enhance Qatar tourism.”
In a signing ceremony held in Doha, Mr. Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at Qatar Tourism Authority, commented on the development that Qatar’s tourism sector has witnessed in recent years. “It is a great source of pride for all of us at QTA to be making this announcement only two and half years after the launch of QNTSS. Facilitating the visa application process is an important step in our drive to increase the number of visitor arrivals to Qatar, and in raising inbound tourism spending. This agreement is also testament to the public-private-partnerships that are employed in the development of the sector, creating positive impacts across the tourism value chain and the broader economy.”
Qatar Airways and QTA will be working with VFS Global and MOI over the next months to establish the new tourist visa application process, after which full details of the new system will be announced. The steps taken are expected to increase Qatar’s openness ranking on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index.
Brigadier Abdullah Salim Al Ali, Director General of General Directorate of Nationality, Borders and Expatriates Affairs, said: “Qatar’s Ministry of Interior continuously strives to make government services as smooth and efficient as possible, while ensuring that Qatar’s security is not compromised. We are pleased to take developments in our tourist visa application services to the next level by working with our valued partners Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority. We believe this agreement will optimise resources as well security, while creating a positive impact on Qatar’s image and economy.”
VFS Global offers convenient and efficient visa application services that can be accessed online by travellers from across the world, and the partnership aims to support passengers along their journey as well as to facilitate Qatar’s booming tourism industry by simplifying the tourist visa process.
Mr. Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global said: “We are pleased to partner with Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority to make the Qatar visa application process available to travellers globally, through online and mobile platforms. These new channels, which are sure to prove convenient and beneficial for visitors here, signify the next level of flexibility and security in the visa application process. This service will leverage on our experience and reliability in providing seamless visa application services, and will act as an important tool to boost tourism and make Qatar a preferred tourist destination.”
All visas are approved and issued at the sole discretion of Qatar’s Ministry of Interior.
Qatar Airways, the national carrier of the State of Qatar, is one of the fastest growing airlines operating one of the youngest fleets in the world. Now in its 19th year of operations, Qatar Airways has a modern fleet of 190 aircraft flying to more than 150 key business and leisure destinations across six continents.
A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was awarded World’s Best Business Class; Best Business Class Airline Lounge and Best Airline Staff Service in the Middle East at the prestigious 2016 World Airline Awards managed by international air transport rating organisation Skytrax.
Qatar Airways is a member of the oneworld global alliance. The award-winning alliance was named the World’s Best Airline Alliance 2015 by Skytrax for the third year running. Qatar Airways was the first Gulf carrier to join global airline alliance, oneworld, enabling its passengers to benefit from more than 1,000 airports in more than 150 countries, with 14,250 daily departures.
Oryx One, Qatar Airways’ inflight entertainment system offers passengers up to 3,000 entertainment options from the latest blockbuster movies, TV box sets, music, games and much more. Passengers flying on Qatar Airways flights served by its B787, A350, A380, A319 as well as select A320 and A330 aircraft can also stay in touch with their friends and family around the world by using the award-winning airline’s on-board Wi-Fi and GSM service.
Qatar Airways is one of the world’s leaders in sponsoring global sporting events, including the strategic team sponsorships of FC Barcelona and Al-Ahli Saudi Arabia FC. Qatar Airways’ strategy reflects the values of sports as a means of bringing people together, something at the core of the airline’s own brand message – Going Places Together.
Qatar Airways Cargo, the world’s third largest cargo carrier, serves more than 50 exclusive freighter destinations worldwide via its Doha hub and also delivers freight to more than 150 key business and leisure destinations globally on 190 aircraft. The Qatar Airways Cargo fleet now includes eight Airbus 330Fs, 10 Boeing 777 freighters and two Boeing 747 freighters.
Long-recognised by the country’s leadership as an avenue to further Qatar’s development, tourism has been designated a priority sector by the government. Qatar Tourism Authority’s mission is to firmly establish Qatar on the global map as a world-class tourism destination with deep cultural roots. In 2014 QTA launched the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy (QNTSS), which seeks to diversify the country’s tourism offering and increase the sector’s contribution to Qatar’s economy by 2030.
QTA works in partnership with public and private stakeholders to achieve this mission by planning, regulating and promoting a sustainable and diverse tourism industry.
As part of its planning efforts, QTA identifies types of tourism products and services that will contribute to the Qatar tourism experience, and works to attract investment for their development.
Regulation efforts involve ensuring tourism sector establishments operate at the highest standards while perpetuating Qatar’s culture.
QTA promotes Qatar as a destination around the world, through its destination branding, international representation and participation at trade shows, and by developing a rich calendar of festivals and events. With a growing international presence, QTA’s representative offices in London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, Singapore, Istanbul, New York and Riyadh support QTA’s promotion efforts.
Since launching QNTSS, Qatar has welcomed over 7 million visitors, and achieved an average annual growth in arrivals of 11.5% between 2010-2015. The economic impact of the tourism sector in Qatar is becoming increasingly visible with 2014 estimates showing a total impact on Qatar’s total GDP of 4.1%.
VFS Global is the world’s largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide. With 2251 Application Centres, operations in 125 countries across five continents and over 125 million applications processed as on 31 July 2016, VFS Global serves the interests of 50 client governments. VFS Global’s worldwide operations are certified ISO 9001:2008 for Quality Management System, ISO 27001:2013 for Information Security Management System and ISO 14001:2004 for Environmental Management System. For more information, please visit www.vfsglobal.com