Pandas sent by China arrive in Qatar ahead of World Cup Qatar 2022
Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has agreed to receive a shipment of 1.3 billion Chinese tourist visas signed by Beijing authorities on Wednesday.
In addition to passports, the visas will also enable tourists to purchase tickets to the World Cup tournament in Qatar.
The move follows the signing of a deal last month with a major Chinese travel company, China International Travel Service Co Ltd.
China has made it easy for the visiting football World Cup teams to get visas allowing them to travel to the country, where they will be permitted to take part in the tournament.
It has also signed deals with several countries in South and Central Asia to send thousands more tickets and permits.
The Chinese embassy said it hoped the new batch of visas would help boost the number of tourists to the Middle East country.
Qatar’s new World Cup tourism campaign is due to start in late February, with the country expecting millions of visitors.
“The Chinese visa program is not new. This is not the first time China has sent tourists to the Middle East,” said Qatar Tourism Authority spokesman Haitham Farshad.
“We are currently looking at the details and will decide on the next steps when everything is in place.”
The first batch of the visas was delivered to the embassy on Tuesday, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said.
A second set of the visas will arrive in early March, the ministry official said. The third and final batch consists of two sets, he added.
The Chinese embassy in Qatar is in a separate building from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building on Sheikh Hamad Street.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had nothing to add to that statement this afternoon.
Earlier this month, the ministry had said a total of 1.2 billion Chinese tourist visas had been sent since June 2014.
The ministry has since clarified only 1.3 billion out of a total