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Qatar

Qatar

It only began issuing tourist visas in 1989, but after a slow start Qatar has begun to reap the benefits of its new openness. Visitors are welcomed to a land of glitzy new hotels, towering sand dunes, ancient rock carvings and distinctive architecture. Qatar , officially State of Qatar, independent emirate (1995 est. pop. 534,000), 4,400 sq mi (11,400 sq km), is set on a largely barren peninsula in the Persian Gulf, bordering Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (S). The capital is Doha and the economy of Qatar is dominated by oil and natural gas, which accounts for 70% of export income. Oil and gas revenues have been used to diversify the economy, including the development of chemicals, steel, cement, and fertilizer industries and banking. A minority (20%) of the population are Qataris (Arabs of the Wahhabi sect of Islam); the rest are largely other Arabs, Pakistanis, Indians, and Iranians. Arabic is the official language, but English is also widely spoken.