Record 3M tourists visited Qatar in 2015
Doha, Qatar (Paul Cowan/Shuttertsock.com)
Published Sunday, January 24, 2016 12:09PM EST
(Doha) - Almost three million people visited Qatar in 2015, a record number for the energy-rich Gulf country, its tourism authority said on Sunday.
A total of 2.93 million people travelled to Qatar last year for a holiday, business or personal reasons, according to figures in an annual report released by the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).
That represented an increase of almost four per cent on 2014, at a time when the country is looking to diversify its economy away from its reliance on gas and oil, which accounts for more than 50 per cent of GDP.
"The report shows that despite global developments, which have adversely affected travel patterns, Qatar has shown resilience as a burgeoning tourist destination with growing arrival figures and steady hotel occupancy rates," the QTA stated.
The largest number of visitors, 855,000, came from Saudi Arabia.
India provided more 375,000 visitors and the United Kingdom 135,000.
There was also an increase in the number of Chinese and French visitors in 2015.
Tourism contributed the equivalent of $3.7 billion (3.4 billion euros) to the economy in 2015, the QTA said, around two per cent of total GDP.
QTA forecasts up to nine million people will visit Qatar by 2030, allowing tourism to contribute to just over five percent of the total economy.