The influx of visitors mainly from Saudi Arabia has helped retailers and restaurants at touristic destinations in Qatar such as Souq Waqif to cope with the off-peak season, it is learnt.
Speaking to Gulf Times, an employee of one of the Arab restaurants at Souq Waqif said that around 75% of visitors to the outlet in the summer are from Saudi Arabia. The rest come from European and other Middle East countries.
“We consider them as regular customers, they come all-year-round but it is a good thing that many families spend their summer here,” he said. “They keep coming back every year.”
This trend, he noted, has been benefitting almost all restaurants at the Souq, which offer an array of Arab cuisines that suit visitors’ preference.
The employee expressed optimism that the number of Saudi visitors will further increase every year during the same period due to the various entertainment offerings and shopping promotions in Qatar.
The annual Qatar Summer Festival organised by Qatar Tourism Authority has been attracting visitors from different GCC countries particularly from Saudi Arabia.
A staff of another restaurant echoed this statement saying that many Saudi families find Qatar as their preferred destination and as a second home even in summer.
While admitting they normally receive fewer tourists in the summer, he said the growing number of Saudi visitors is a boon from July to September.
“During Ramadan, we manage to beef up our revenues because a lot of people come here either for iftar or suhour,” he noted. “But after that, we struggle to meet our targets.”
Besides Saudi visitors, Souq Waqif has been receiving quite a good number of tourists from European countries who usually visit more than one country in the GCC.
Mark and Kamilia, a couple from Poland who are on a four-day visit to Qatar, told Gulf Times that they found the country a good family destination even during the summer.
Mark said they hope to see more promotions and advertisements in Europe about the developments in Qatar which is hosting the 2022 Fifa World Cup.
Compared to other Gulf countries, he added that Qatar has its own unique physical beauty and a rich cultural heritage.
“People are very hospitable and we don’t mind the weather, this is something that many people in Europe want to experience,” said Mark, who has also worked in Saudi Arabia in the past.
The couple, who just came from the UAE, is set to visit Kuwait. They are also planning to visit Oman in the future.
Many shops and restaurants at the Souq also saw an increasing number of tourists from other GCC countries such as Oman and the United Arab Emirates.
Since many residents are expected to return soon from vacation, these establishments are preparing to receive more customers.
Turkish products on sale at the Souq.
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