Qatar waives visa requirements for 80 countries, including Thailand

A file photo taken in Doha, Qatar.

Qatar has lifted visa requirements for visitors from 80 countries yesterday to encourage tourism amid the two-month boycott of all transport links by its neighbors. Among those countries are Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, UK, and U.S.

The visa exemption, which went into effect immediately, means people of the 80 nations can enter Qatar without paperwork and stay up to 30, or in some cases 90, days.

Passport holders of 47 countries including Thailand, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, UK and U.S. can stay in Qatar up to 30 days.

Citizens of 33 other countries can stay up to 90 days. The list is mostly made up of European countries, according to NPR.

“The visa exemption scheme will make Qatar the most open country in the region,” Hassan al-Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development officer at Qatar Tourism Authority, told reporters at a press conference in Doha yesterday.

The visa waiver followed the country’s boycott by four Arab states: Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates in June. Qatar was cut off from all transport links with these countries for its alleged support of terrorism, which Qatar denied, Reuters reported.

Qatar Airways, the state-owned airline, suffered from having to suspend flights to and from the four countries, which accounted for 25 percent of all their flights.

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