Posted on March 29, 2019

The number of visitors from Qatar to Spain has increased by 150% in the past four years and the average amount of money spent by a Qatari tourists in Spain is the highest among visitors from all over the world.   

In 2017, Spain had more than 34,000 tourists from Qatar. The average amount of money spent by a Qatari tourist (by credit card) is $1,512, said Belen Alfaro, Ambassador of Spain to Qatar. “I am optimistic and looking forward this trend to continue and the number of visitors from Qatar to Spain to increase further in future,” she said while speaking to media following a meeting with representatives of the travel and tourism sector, at her residence in Doha.  

Mediterranean cruises and the love of football has placed Barcelona as the top city favoured by Qatari nationals in Spain. This is followed by Madrid and the city of Malaga on the Costa del Sol. “Earlier most Qataris visited Spain for football. But now they know the country and the options available. They want to visit different cities, cultural and historical sites and involve in other activities,” said Alfaro. 

The Spanish embassy is considered as one of the diplomatic missions that provides a faster visa service for tourists from Qatar. Alfaro also highlighted that a major contributing factor for the increase in number of tourists from Qatar to Spain is  connectivity. “Qatar Airways has increased its frequency and capacity to Madrid and Barcelona. Some 21 flights a week to Madrid and 18 flights a week to Barcelona are available now. Also, Qatar Airways added a seasonal route to Malaga that runs from June to September since 2018. In fact, the national airline is responsible for bringing more than 750,000 passengers annually to Spain,” she said. 

The Tourism Board of Spain is working very closely with the travel trade in Qatar on how to promote its tourist destinations. It is also one of the few tourism boards that have invested in creating a website with information specifically tailored for the GCC traveler – “Available in both English and Arabic, the website highlights places to be explored around the main destinations of Madrid, Barcelona and Malaga. It provides recommendations for families, shopping, halal restaurants, mosques and also offers a link directly to the BLS website, the company responsible for processing Schengen visas to Spain,” said Miguel Nieto-Sandoval, Tourism Counsellor for the Spanish Tourism Office in the GCC.   

With iconic cities spread across breath-taking landscapes, a treasure trove of history and culture shaped by multiple civilisations and religious identities combined with its pulsating energy and unique way of life, Spain continues to be one of the top visited countries in the world. In 2018, the country welcomed more than 82 million tourists. 

source: The Peninsula