FILE - An aerial view of Doha's diplomatic area March 21, 2013 - REUTERS
CAIRO – 14 May 2018: The total number of visitors from Arab countries to Qatar has declined by about 81.3 percent in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the first quarter of 2017, according to Qatar Tourism Authority.
Tourism from the Gulf Cooperation Council’s member states to Qatar has declined by 86 percent in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the first quarter of 2017, following the Arab quartet boycott that took place in June, according to a report published Monday by Qatar Tourism Authority.
The number of tourists from the GCC states declined to 54,329 tourists in the first quarter of 2018 compared to 394,557 tourists in the first quarter of 2017.
The GCC comprises six states including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman and Qatar.
The report also mentioned that the number of tourists from other Arab states declined by 52 percent in the first quarter of 2018 to be 31,378 tourists down from 64,958 in the first quarter of 2017.
However, the number of tourists from other African and Asian countries as well as tourists from Europe and the two Americas has significantly increased, according to the report. Tourism from other African states has increased by 56 percent in the first quarter of 2018.
In late 2017, the Qatari authorities have officially granted visa-free access to citizens of 80 countries.
"Qatar is now the Middle East's most open country; thanks to a new package of visa facilitation measures, visitors can now enter Qatar without a visa or they can simply fill out a visa application form online," said Qatar's Ministry of Tourism in a statement in November.
The Qatari regime has announced launching a program exempting 80 countries from previous visa entry requirements since August, in order to attract tourist pools, after the tourist industry suffered following the Arab Quartet’s boycott.
On June 5, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Libya, and Yemen cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar for its “continuous support of terrorism”, a claim Qatar rejects; these Arab states banned Qatar from using their airspace and seaports.
Additional reporting by Mona Ahmed
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