1 September 2016

Qatar Airways, Qatar Tourism Authority and VFS Global to enhance tousit visa application system

From left: Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Rashid Al Mazroui, Director of the Airport Passports Department; HE Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO of Qatar Airways; Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at Qatar Tourism Authority; Zubin Karkaria, CEO of VFS Global; in a group photo after the announcement.
From left: Lieutenant Colonel Muhammad Rashid Al Mazroui, Director of the 
Airport Passports Department; HE Akbar Al Baker, Group CEO of Qatar 
 Airways; Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at Qatar 
 Tourism Authority; Zubin Karkaria, CEO of VFS Global; in a group photo 
 after the announcement.
Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) have signed an agreement with VFS Global – a provider of visa processing services – in the presence of Qatar’s Ministry of Interior. The agreement paves the way for an efficient and transparent tourist visa application system for travellers to Qatar.

The move comes as Qatar steps up efforts to attract and welcome more visitors to Qatar in line with the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 (QNTSS). The agreement will enable Qatar to identify and implement ideal visa solutions for its visitors while capitalising on VFS Global’s expertise in developing multi-platform visa services, and Qatar Airways’ international footprint.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, HE Akbar Al Baker, said at the time of the announcement: “Qatar Airways has been bringing tourists to Qatar for nearly two decades and today’s announcement marks another milestone in our commitment to making Doha a world-class tourist destination. Qatar’s tourism industry is experiencing exponential growth and the visa advancements announced today will further support our country’s vision to invite and welcome visitors from around the world to experience all that Qatar has to offer. We look forward to welcoming more passengers on-board, at Hamad International Airport and into Qatar, as a result of today’s initiative."

Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA said, “It is a great source of pride for all of us at QTA to be making this announcement only two and half years after the launch of QNTSS. Facilitating the visa application process is an important step in our drive to increase the number of visitor arrivals to Qatar, and in raising inbound tourism spending. This agreement is also testament to the public-private-partnerships that are employed in the development of the sector, creating positive impacts across the tourism value chain and the broader economy.”

Qatar Airways and QTA will be working with VFS Global and the Ministry of the Interior over the next months to establish the new tourist visa application process, after which full details of the new system will be announced. The steps taken are expected to increase Qatar’s openness ranking on the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index*.

Brigadier Abdullah Salim Al Ali, Director General of General Directorate of Nationality, Borders and Expatriates Affairs, said, “Qatar’s Ministry of Interior continuously strives to make government services as smooth and efficient as possible, while ensuring that Qatar’s security is not compromised. We are pleased to take developments in our tourist visa application services to the next level by working with our valued partners Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority. We believe this agreement will optimise resources as well security, while creating a positive impact on Qatar’s image and economy.”

VFS Global offers convenient and efficient visa application services that can be accessed online by travellers from across the world, and the partnership aims to support passengers along their journey as well as to facilitate Qatar’s booming tourism industry by simplifying the tourist visa process.

Zubin Karkaria, CEO, VFS Global said; “We are pleased to partner with Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority to make the Qatar visa application process available to travellers globally, through online and mobile platforms. These new channels, which are sure to prove convenient and beneficial for visitors here, signify the next level of flexibility and security in the visa application process. This service will leverage on our experience and reliability in providing seamless visa application services, and will act as an important tool to boost tourism and make Qatar a preferred tourist destination.”

*The Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index is maintained by the World Economic Forum. The most recent report was in 2015 (PDF)