Qatar’s enhanced winter camping season has started to woo an increasing number of local and foreign visitors looking for safari and other desert adventures.
Lauding the efforts of the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) for the launch of Al Enna project last month, Arabian Adventures Qatar CEO Hassen Mohamed A Hijji told Gulf Times that such initiative provided new and “curated” services, as well as amenities, for both campers and operators.
“Qatar’s desert is in high demand. The desert offers an array of unique experiences during the day and at night when countless stars can be seen in the sky,” he said. “On a full moon day, visitors can have a great time in the desert,” he said
Visitors will find it a fantastic experience to ride a camel for 5km-10km in the night when the weather is excellent.
Hijji expressed optimism that the Sealine area will see more exciting desert and water activities for residents and visitors in the future.
Al Enna is a tourism development project that aims to enhance the winter camping experience in Qatar, protect the environment, and ensure public safety.
It is spearheaded by the QNTC with the support of the Ministry of Municipality and Environment, the Ministry of Interior, the Public Works Authority (Ashghal), Qatar Olympic Committee, Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation, Batabit, Mawater, Katara Hospitality, and QSports
“It (Al Enna) is a sort of a preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar and they (QNTC and stakeholders) are doing a great job,” Hijji stressed, as he expect the demand for desert adventures to surge further in the lead up to the mega football event as many tourists have started visiting Qatar this winter season.
According to the QNTC, during the last cruise season, which ended in April of this year, the country welcomed 22 cruise ships carrying more than 65,000 cruise passengers — a 39% increase from the 2016-17 season.
The ongoing 2018-19 cruise season, which kicked off in October and continues until April 2019, is expected to see nearly double the number of cruise ships that arrived in the previous season and bring 140,000 visitors to Qatar's shores.
Hijji noted that citizens from 80 countries who are allowed visa-free entry or visa on arrival to Qatar may be planning their itineraries ahead to visit the country soon or during the tournament.
The shift in the timing of the World Cup in 2022 (in November) is also expected to create a positive impact on Qatar’s tourism industry as it allows players and other visitors to experience the different offerings at Sealine, Hijji said.
“There is really a demand and everybody is looking forward to Qatar,” he pointed out.
According to the QNTC, the Al Enna project also provides investment opportunities for entrepreneurs; for establishing a wildlife nursery to reintroduce plants and animals that were affected by the previous camping seasons; encourages camp owners to plant trees in exchange for special incentives; enforces consumer protection measures and supervise commercial transactions and services; and preserves the environment by using solar energy, recycling, rationing food consumption and limiting the use of plastic, among others.