This summer Qatar is planning its biggest summer celebration to date, in a move to showcase the country as a summer destination that mixes tradition with modernity. The Summer in Qatar Festival will run from the beginning of Eid al-Fitr until the end of Eid al-Adha, from 4 June until 16 August 2019. As part of the celebrations, citizens and residents of Qatar will be able to invite their friends and family to join them in Qatar and these guests will be able to apply online for visa-free entry.
Who can apply?
Friends and family of Qatari citizens and residents can come and enjoy the festival and enter the country visa-free, regardless of their nationality. The applications can be made through an online portal and a response will be given within 24 hours.
There are 3 different categories of applicant: friends and family of citizens, friends and family of residents, and former expat workers. Depending on which category the applicants fall under, they will need to provide the following as part of the application process:
- Proof of kinship or relationship with the host
- A hotel reservation for the duration of the stay
- Proof of having previously worked in Qatar
- Return plane tickets
Summer in Qatar: Culture, Sport, Family Fun and Shopping
The Summer in Qatar festival will cover a range of different activities so it should have something for everyone.
Planned events involve:
- Culture: A film festival including a Bollywood award ceremony, and music concerts featuring both international and Arab artists.
- Sport: Plenty of opportunities for sports enthusiasts to try a range of different sporting activities including kitesurf and scuba diving.
- Family Activities: There will be stage shows featuring the Smurfs and Hello Kitty and a range of other indoor activities.
- Shopping: Various shopping centers are participating in the festival and offering huge discounts of up to 70%.
Qatari Tourism: A Strategic Future Objective
The Summer in Qatar Festival and the related electronic visa application system have been a combined effort between the Qatar National Tourism Council, Qatar Airways and the Qatar Ministry of the Interior.
As part of the promotion, Qatar Airways will be offering discounts of up to 25% on flights from around the world to Doha International Airport. According to the UN World Tourism Council, Qatar is the eighth most open country in the world in terms of visa processing. This is a reflection of the importance placed by the Qatari government on tourism as a pillar of future growth. The Summer Festival is the latest in a range of initiatives to open up the Middle Eastern country to tourism, such as the creation in 2017 of a visa waiver program for 80 nationalities.
If you intend to visit Qatar after the summer festival then you should check visa requirements to see whether you are from one of the 80 nationalities that now enjoy visa-free travel to Qatar.
For more global visa information, keep checking the website for the latest updates.