‘80,000 res­i­dents from Qatar vis­ited the UK in one year’

Gulf Times - - QATAR -

More than 80,000 Qatar res­i­dents trav­elled to the UK in the year be­tween the sec­ond quar­ter of 2017 un­til the end of the first quar­ter of 2018, Bri­tish am­bas­sador Ajay Sharma said.

In­form­ing this to a group of jour­nal­ists over the week­end, Sharma said more than 75% of the trav­ellers from Qatar vis­ited Lon­don and its im­me­di­ate suburbs, while oth­ers flocked to des­ti­na­tions out­side Lon­don.

“Con­sid­er­ing the rel­a­tively smaller pop­u­la­tion of Qatar, the num­ber of vis­i­tors from Qatar to the UK is highly im­pres­sive and I’m sure that such vis­its would help the Bri­tish peo­ple de­velop much bet­ter aware­ness and un­der­stand­ing of Qatar, es­pe­cially in the con­text of this coun­try play­ing host to the FIFA World Cup in 2022,” he said.

Hail­ing the vis­its of Qatar res­i­dents to his coun­try in such large num­bers, the am­bas­sador said Qatar Air­ways is op­er­at­ing flights to Lon­don Heathrow, Lon­don Gatwick, Manch­ester, Birm­ing­ham and Cardiff, and this has con­trib­uted to the growth in the num­ber of trav­ellers and cre­ation of aware­ness about Qatar among the Bri­tish pop­u­la­tion. While an­swer­ing a ques­tion, the en­voy said bi­lat­eral trade be­tween the UK and Qatar was worth ap­prox­i­mately QR30bn in the last fi­nan­cial year and it showed an 8% rise com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year.

“It is an im­pres­sive fig­ure con­sid­er­ing that the Gulf dis­pute and eco­nomic block­ade are still in place,” he said, adding that chief ex­ports of the UK to Qatar are mainly heavy ma­chin­ery and equip­ment and ser­vices in var­i­ous sec­tors.

While stress­ing the need for the on­go­ing block­ade to end, the am­bas­sador said re­solv­ing such dis­putes is good for the en­tire Gulf re­gion and also for his coun­try.

It is an is­sue that needs to be am­i­ca­bly set­tled through di­a­logue by the par­ties in­volved, he said.

Queried about data on stu­dents from Qatar study­ing in the UK, the en­voy said about 3,000 are un­der­go­ing var­i­ous higher ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes and 1,000 oth­ers are pur­su­ing English lan­guage cour­ses.

“Con­sid­er­ing the rel­a­tively smaller pop­u­la­tion of Qatar, the num­ber of vis­i­tors from Qatar to the UK is highly im­pres­sive”

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