Qatar eyes cruise tourism growth

MSC World Europa arrived into Doha, Qatar ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022

Qatar is poised to become a major player in the cruise tourism industry, with ambitious plans to welcome more than 300,000 passengers and generate over $300 million in revenue at full capacity.

Qatar Tourism’s 2022-2023 cruise season kicked off in December 2022 with the arrival of French cruise ship, Le Bougainville, and runs until April 2023.

According to Qatar Tourism and Mwani Qatar, the season will see 58 world-class cruise ships, four cruise liner maiden calls and some 200,000 passengers make their way to Qatar.


 Qatar’s 2022-2023 cruise season will welcome 58 world-class cruise ships, four cruise liner maiden calls and 200,000 passengers


Over the season, cruise liner passengers will be welcomed at the Cruise Terminal, a newly designed infrastructure that pays homage to classic Arabian architecture. Docking in Doha Port, passengers will witness the newly renovated port that recently stood home to major international cruise liners offering ‘floating accommodation’ for thousands of international fans during the tournament, including the MSC World Europa, MSC Opera and MSC Poesia.

Commenting on the new cruise season, Maryam Saoud, Head of Tourism Product Support at Qatar Tourism, said: “Qatar’s cruise sector has a history of less than a decade, yet the sector has grown tremendously and now contributes an important pillar to our tourism strategy. We’re seeing continued, increasing preference for Qatar as a destination for both regular cruise calls and cruises with turnaround calls. Indeed, Doha Port’s strategic location in the heart of the city is truly unique and offers our visitors an excellent opportunity to make the most out of their time in Doha. We are ready to welcome thousands of new travellers who are guaranteed a distinct tourism experience in Qatar through the different tourism products on offer and in collaboration with our strategic partners.”

Italian Cruise Ship Costa Toscana, the flagship vessel of Costa Cruises, arrived at Doha Port last month, as part of its first maiden tour of the Arabian Gulf.

Commenting on this occasion, Maryam Saoud, Head of Tourism Product Support at Qatar Tourism, said: “Our cruise season is off to a solid start with the latest expansion in our portfolio of cruise liners a testimony to our growth and diversification. This is also an LNG-powered cruise ship to Qatar, which highlights our commitment to sustainability in the development of the cruise sector. We look forward to welcoming thousands of visitors and delighting them with the warmth, hospitality and range of experiences Qatar has to offer.”

Qatar’s cruise sector, which was established in 2016, has helped position Qatar as a popular destination for maritime tourism in the region. The growth of the industry supports Qatar’s economy through increased tourist spending, employment and business opportunities.

Since its return in 2021-2022, the cruise industry has driven significant growth to Qatar’s tourism sector. In December 2022, Doha Port welcomed a total of 8,000 visitors, mostly from Italy and Russia. The 2021-22 cruise season welcomed a total of 100,500 passengers.