Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has opened representative offices in China, with headquarters in Beijing and supporting locations in Shanghai and Guangzhou, aimed at attracting more Asian visitors to Qatar.
The opening comes as Qatar has been officially awarded the ‘Approved Destination Status (ADS),’ which allows the country to receive Chinese tourists and hold promotional tourism activities within China.
The new headquarters in China becomes QTA’s third office in Asia and ninth globally, including the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, the US, the GCC markets and Southeast Asia.
In a statement, QTA officials also hinted that additional overseas offices in Russia and India will also open before the end of this year.
“Qatar has become an increasingly accessible destination for Chinese travellers, especially after the country waived entry visa requirements for Chinese citizens,” Qatar’s ambassador to China Sultan Salmeen al-Mansouri said.
Chinese nationals are entitled to a visa-free entry to Qatar using a multi-entry waiver issued free-of-charge at the port of entry.
Citing a substantial number of Chinese tourists travelling to various destinations globally, the envoy believes that Qatar’s efforts to make its presence in China is timely.
According to QTA, the new offices will be operated in partnership with PHG Consulting, a division of Preferred Hospitality Group, known as a premier global provider of representation and consultancy services for tourism boards, destination management companies, airlines, and hotel brands.
QTA said the office in China will further help raise awareness and knowledge about Qatar as “a quality tourism destination” through a proactive marketing campaign.
QTA’s chief marketing and promotion officer Rashed al-Qurese said it will hold a wide range of promotional initiatives such as workshops, sales visits, and travel agents destination training through its online ‘Tawash programme.’
QTA will also forge partnerships with tour operators, organise familiarisation trips, and conduct media campaigns and a variety of innovative activities to raise Qatar’s profile as a destination among Chinese tourists.
“China has risen rapidly as a major source of outbound tourists in the world and we have identified it as key source market for future growth, among both leisure and business visitors,” al-Qurese said in a statement.
“Qatar has been developing its assets in both areas, and we look forward to working with our partners at the China National Tourism Administration and PHG Consulting to raise awareness of our unique tourism offering,” he pointed out.
With Qatar granted ADS, QTA is planning a major campaign from January 2018, which will include advertising in major publications, and organising familiarisation trips to experience Qatar first hand.
QTA website www.visitqatar.qa
can now be read in Mandarin to help Chinese travellers get more information about Qatar’s tourism offerings such as hospitality options and key events online.
Qatar will also establish a presence across the most prominent Chinese social media platforms in the coming months, QTA added. “As demand for unique, exciting, and experience-rich destinations continues to grow among Chinese travellers, we are excited to embark on this multi-year partnership with QTA,” PHG COO Ken Mastrandrea said.
Qatar has all the components to be a touristic destination such as “a best airline and best airport in the world,” apart from having world-class museums, souqs, and cultural facilities. The opening of new offices in China is expected to further attract more foreign tourists from other regions, including Asia, amid the ongoing economic blockade.
QTA’s “Tourism Performance Summary H1 (first half) 2017” report showed that visitor arrivals from Asia, including Oceania, recorded a 4% increase compared to the same period in 2016.
QTA’s move to open more overseas offices will also significantly help Qatar’s hospitality sector grow further, according to a hotel manager in Doha.