The first edition of the FIFA World Cup hosted in the Middle East gathered a cumulative stadium attendance of 2.45 million spectators, according to FIFA on its Qatar 2022 portal.
And months later, a record number of foreign visitors still come to the peninsula. In January and February, the country welcomed 730,000 visitors, a rise of 347% over the previous year.
In January 2023, the country received 340,000 visitors, a 295% increase yearly, followed by 389,000 in February 2023, a 406% increase from last year.
February was marked as the highest number of international arrivals to the country in the past ten years, except for the months leading up to the FIFA World Cup 2022, thereby becoming the busiest month for tourism in the country.
As Qatar continues establishing itself as a burgeoning tourism destination, it started the year with Qatar Tourism’s Feel Winter campaign. It offered a lineup of jam-packed events such as performances from regional and international artists, the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition, the 10-day Qatar Balloon Festival, the Qatar International Food Festival, and other family-friendly events.
Berthold Trenkel, COO at Qatar Tourism, noted that the influx of visitors aligns with their goal of welcoming 6-7 million visitors annually as part of its 2030 strategy and having tourism account for 12% of the country’s GDP. He added, “Our performance also highlights Qatar’s growing reputation as a world-class destination for travelers seeking unique experiences and is a testament to the success of our ‘Feel Winter in Qatar’ campaign and ‘Feel More’ brand.”
The festivities around Kuwait National Day and Saudi Founding Day in February also increased visitors arriving from both countries. In particular, 86,000 arrivals were from Saudi Arabia and 20,000 from Kuwait, constituting 73% of all arrivals from the GCC and 27% of all international arrivals in February.