Qatar announced on Wednesday a programme to allow visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries to encourage air transport and tourism amid a two-month boycott imposed on the Gulf state by its neighbors.
Nationals from dozens of countries in Europe and elsewhere, including India, Lebanon, New Zealand, South Africa, and the United States only need present a valid passport to enter the gas-rich country which hosts the soccer World Cup in 2022.
Nationals of 33 countries will be allowed to stay for 180 days and the other 47, including India, for up to 30 days. “The visa exemption scheme will make Qatar the most open country in the region,” Hassan al-Ibrahim, chief tourism development officer at Qatar Tourism Authority told reporters at a press conference in Doha.
The move to throw Qatar’s doors open to visitors comes amid an ongoing dispute with it’s Gulf neighbours that has hit the country’s tourism and hospitality industry.
In the coming months Qatar is looking into granting visas on arrival for people who have valid residence in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the Schengen countries.