The number of cruise ships calling at Doha Port in Qatar has more than doubled over the last 12 months.

A total of 43 ships stopped at the port in the country’s capital, ten of which made their maiden call.

Qatar Tourism Authority expects 140,000 cruise visitors between October 2018 and April 2019, almost three times as many as last year.

German-based line AIDA Cruises and Carnival’s Italian line Costa Cruises are between them expected to account for a quarter of the cruise visitors.

In response to the growth in cruise visitors, the Qatar Tourism Authority said cruise terminal facilities will continue to be extended and said that Mowasalat, a major Qatari transport services provider, is to further develop tourist transport.

The tourist board is also celebrating the upcoming opening of a 21-storey five-star Park Hyatt Hotel, due to open in the second quarter of 2019, and the new 375-room Pullman Doha in the city’s West Bay in the third quarter. These new hotels will follow the opening of the 249-room Mandarin Oriental Doha near the city’s business centre in the first quarter.

Qatar is promoting itself a family-friendly destination, with the recent opening of the first Angry Birds World theme park and the new Museum of Qatar, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, set to open in the coming months.

Construction is also almost complete on the nine-hole Education City Golf, with the first radar-tracked driving range in the city as well as an indoor putting green with moving floor to simulate sloping putts.

The nation is hosting the 23rd World Corporate Games in November 2019 and Doha’s Khalifa International Stadium will host the IAAF World Championships at the end of the summer.

A spokesman for the Qatar Tourism Authrity said: “Qatar is more accessible than ever before. It is the ideal destination for a cultural escape, winter sun holiday or stopover city break for British and Irish travellers. There’s never been a better time to explore this Middle Eastern gem.”

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