The Italian embassy in Doha opened its new visa application centre on Tuesday at The Gate Mall, sixth floor, Tower 3, in West Bay, offering "enhanced services in a welcoming facility" for Qatar residents.
“The aim was to upgrade the services in order to make the visa process much enjoyable, so there are areas dedicated to children, leisure and tourism, and also an area dedicated to design to show everyone what Italy can offer while processing their visa faster and easier,” Italian ambassador Pasquale Salzano said.
The envoy was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the centre’s opening, his final act as head of mission before departing from Doha at the end of his tenure after the celebration of Qatar National Day.
He stressed that the opening of the new facility, operated by VFS Global, serves as a gesture of special attention and gratitude towards all residents in Qatar travelling to Italy and the Schengen area for business, tourism and study.
Salzano said people will also enjoy their stay while applying since the visa application centre is in a prime location and housed in a luxury mall (The Gate Mall) in Doha.
The newly-opened centre's tourism booth provides applicants with travel information about the various touristic destinations in Italy.
“You are not in the middle of nowhere, you are right in the middle of West Bay, a prime location. You have restaurants, cafes and shops, so people can really come and enjoy their stay, not only to feel like it is a complicated issue to apply for a visa but also the way they are processed is faster,” he said.
The centre also provides applicants with travel information aimed at promoting various touristic destinations in Italy.
The envoy cited a 50% increase in the number of visitors from Qatar to Italy’s popular and favourite destinations this year compared to 2018.
“For the time being, we have several daily direct connections from Doha to these four main cities (Rome, Milan, Venice and Pisa, which are directly linked by Qatar Airways from Doha), and from these cities you can go to wherever in Italy by fast train, by plane, so it is easy to move around,” he said.
“We would like to promote the most hidden areas of Italy, the ones that are small jewels, small towns all around Italy. Italy is very well known for small and characteristic towns around the country known as the '1,000-town country',” Salzano said.
“The two main islands are Sardinia and Sicily, which are extremely nice not only during summer time but also during winter and autumn because they are full of culture and heritage, so you can go and visit all around the year,” he said.
The centre, also accessible via the Doha Metro (DECC station), is open from Sunday to Thursday, between 8am and 8pm. The timings are such that applicants who are busy during the normal working hours can also visit the centre.
During the month of Ramadan, the opening hours will be further extended in the evenings. Appointments can be booked online on the VFS website.
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