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DOHA: August 09, 2017. Qatar Airways has introduced visa-free entry for citizens from 80 countries with those from the EU, Switzerland and Turkey allowed to remain in the country for up to 90 days. Travellers from the U.S. and Britain only get permission for 30 days.

The new Qatar regulations – which also include visa-free travel from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador - coincide with a visit to Qatar by the Board of LATAM Airlines Group.

LATAM Board members in DohaIn December last year Qatar Airways acquired a 10 percent stake in LATAM for US$608.37 million.

"LATAM's presence here in Qatar sends an important signal that it is business as usual both for Qatar Airways and the State of Qatar, said Qatar Airlines CEO Akbar Al Baker. "We look forward to growing and expanding our presence in South America when we launch a brand new direct service between Doha, Rio de Janeiro and Santiago, Chile starting in early 2018."

Qatar Airways Cargo will also introduce B777 freighter capacity to Rio - adding to existing services to São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Quito - when an A350-900 passenger aircraft links Qatar four times a week. Earlier this year the airline leased four such aircraft from LATAM for 12 months.

Visitors to Qatar on LATAM will be issued a multi-entry waiver free-of-charge at Doha based on a valid passport and ticket.

The country is also considering replacing visas with an online travel authorization for holders of a residence permit or a valid visa from Gulf Cooperation Council countries, UK, U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Schengen Area.

Al Baker added: "Today's announcement places the State of Qatar as the most open country in the region. This is a momentous occasion for Qatar, making the number of nationalities eligible to enter our country without a visa the highest in region, which is something that we are very proud of."

Pictured: LATAM Board members at their first ever meeting in Doha.

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