The ‘Top 15 Places to Travel in 2019’ list, published by Forbes and compiled by one of its contributors – travel website Fathom, noted that “Qatar has had to become more and more self-reliant since 2017… due to a highly political Saudi blockade that made it harder for goods and travellers from other points in the Middle East to enter the country”.
“But, instead of driving the people apart, it (the blockade) forced residents to come together, rallying their support around the ruling family, who is beloved for their focus on education, healthcare, sports and the arts,” the write-up said, referring to the Qatar campuses of several Western universities, the opening of new hospitals, construction of stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and the Jean Nouvel-designed National Museum of Qatar, which is slated to open in March.
The travel piece also refers to Msheireb Downtown Doha, a sustainable, mixed-use residential, commercial and cultural complex that “is already an attraction for the four heritage homes that comprise the Msheireb Museums”.
Late last year, Qatar’s National Tourism Council launched the country’s first globally co-ordinated promotion campaign aimed at positioning Qatar as an attractive destination, targeting 225mn international travellers across 15 markets.
Also, Qatar was featured as the “most open country” in the Middle East and the eighth most open in the world in terms of visa facilitation, according to the World Tourism Organisationâ€™s updated visa openness rankings in September 2018.