SINGAPORE: If you happen to be transiting in Doha, why not turn that layover into a stayover? That is what Qatar Airways is offering its passengers by giving them free luxury hotel stays and transit visas.
The promotion was launched on Tuesday (May 2), in partnership with the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) to market the country as a destination for travellers.
According to Qatar Airways, its passengers who transit through Doha are entitled to a free one-night stay at a four- or five- star hotel. Those who want to stay longer can pay US$50 for a second night.
"Passengers can choose from hotels such as The Four Seasons, Marriott Marquis, Radisson Blu and Oryx Rotana," said Qatar Airways in a statement. "The free hotel accommodation, available throughout the summer, will offer passengers the opportunity to explore Doha and experience city tours, desert safari adventures or a dinner cruise aboard a traditional dhow, giving visitors a taste of authentic Arabian hospitality, courtesy of Discover Qatar."
Discover Qatar is the airline's newly created destination management company.
The offer is part of a broader campaign called +Qatar, which aims to encourage transit passengers to consider a stop-off in the country.
Qatar Airways' group chief executive Akbar Al Baker said that stopover passenger numbers have gone up since the launch of the transit visa last November.
"We have already seen a surge in stopover passengers, with a 53 per cent increase recorded in March 2017, compared to the same month last year," he said in a statement. "With the launch of +Qatar today, we aim to convert a larger portion of the 30 million passengers passing through Hamad International Airport into stopover visitors."
To be eligible, passengers have to book their flight on Qatar Airways' website, select "multi-city" and choose their hotel once they receive their flight confirmation.
The free online transit visa is eligible for passengers in transit for between five and 96 hours.