Qatar announced a programme, on Wednesday that allows visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries to encourage air transport and tourism amid a two-month boycott imposed on the Gulf state by its neighbours. Travellers from a dozen countries will now receive tourist visa as they arrive Qatar.
“The visa exemption scheme will make Qatar the most open country in the region,” Hassan al-Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development officer at Qatar Tourism Authority told reporters at a press conference in Doha.
This comes soon after Oil giants and Egypt decided to boycott Qatar, cutting off all transport links with the country after accusing it of supporting terrorism and of close ties to Iran. However, Doha denies the charges. Since the boycott began, Qatar has sought to build up its diplomatic and trade ties beyond the Gulf region. The visa scheme is just the latest in a series of measures aimed at preparing Qatar for greater economic independence in the long term. Efforts led by Kuwait to resolve the rift are ongoing.
It is to be noted that air links suspended by the four Arab states represented around 25 percent of flights by state-owned Qatar Airways, one of the region’s big three carriers.