Doha could overtake Dubai as 'top UK transit destination'
In December 2020, Dubai was the biggest destination for travellers from the UK, with over 186,000 passengers arriving according to Ralph Anker, editor of The Anker Report and former network planner at easyJet and Go.
This was a third of the number of passengers arriving in December 2019, before the global coronavirus pandemic.
However, Britain last week imposed a full travel ban to and from the UAE along with severe quarantine measures, following a surge of cases in Dubai.
While Qatar is currently not allowing travellers from the UK to enter due to coronavirus, passengers from the UK are still allowed to transit to other destinations via Doha.
Amsterdam was the second largest destination for UK travellers, with nearly 94,000 passengers. But the UK also placed travel restrictions on the Netherlands starting on January 23 and banned all flights between the two countries.
The third-ranked destination, Tenerife, with over 60,000 passengers, now faces restrictions due to Spain banning visitors, while the UK has also implemented a leisure travel ban.
There are four Qatar Airways departures each day from London Heathrow to Doha, and one or two daily services from Manchester.
Anker, the author of the report, said: “Who would have thought that remotely possible under any scenario 40 years ago, when most people probably hadn’t even heard of the place?”
His report showed Dublin in fifth place during December, Madrid in sixth, Istanbul seventh and Paris eighth.
Qatar’s Ministry of Public Health on Thursday reported 407 new cases of coronavirus (Covid-19) and 172 people recovered from the virus in the last 24 hours, while the Emirati Ministry of Health and Prevention announced 3,251 new cases and 14 deaths.
Dubai on Tuesday closed bars and pubs until the end of the month to suppress a spike in coronavirus cases, after tourists flocked to the emirate over the holiday period.