• Arab Tourism Capital's key handed over to al-Baker
Doha has experienced an unprecedented boost in tourism with the hosting of the FIFA World Cup for the first time in the region in 2022, Qatar Tourism Chairman and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said Saturday during an official ceremony recognising Doha as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2023.
HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani attended the official announcement ceremony of 'Doha, Arab Tourism Capital 2023' by the Arab Tourism Organisation (ATO), coinciding with the Arab Tourism Day. He also attended the ceremony in which the Arab Tourism Capital's key was handed over to HE al-Baker from the ATO, the official Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.
The ceremony included the screening of a film about the Arab Tourism Organisation, in addition to Qatari folklore performances, music and fireworks.
It was attended by a lineup of sheikhs, ministers from sisterly countries and ambassadors accredited to Qatar along with senior officials and guests, QNA added. ATO president Dr Bandar bin Fahd al-Fuhaid was also present.
HE al-Baker expressed appreciation for Doha being granted the prestigious title by the Arab Tourism Organisation, recognising the serious efforts exerted by the country to develop and upgrade the country's tourism sector. He stressed that Qatar was highly successful in organising the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which was rightly described as the greatest in the century. He pointed out that Qatar enjoys all the potentials and capabilities of being an excellent destination for family-friendly tourism, and comes with the warm, authentic Arabian hospitality.
HE al-Baker said the successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup's has changed the world's perception not only of Doha and Qatar but also of the entire Arab world, reflecting the true, positive image of this part of the world and paving the way for an enhanced tourism industry. He noted that Qatar has all the qualities to be a global hub for tourism, with Qatar Airways being named 'Airline of the Year' by the international air transport rating organisation, Skytrax, for an unprecedented seven times, and Hamad International Airport recognised as the 'Best Airport in the World 2022' for the second year in a row by the Skytrax Airport Awards.
Besides, Qatar and Doha consistently rank among the safest places in the world.
He stressed that the country has invested heavily in the infrastructure necessary to make tourists enjoy a convenient stay, such as the Doha Metro, safe and affordable taxis and other means of transport, world-class hotels and tourist facilities that blend heritage with sophisticated and modern luxury, in addition to various sites and attractions around the country.
HE al-Baker noted that the country is set to continue investing in this key sector to realise Qatar National Vision 2030, and cement Doha's position as the most desired tourist destination.
Meanwhile, Dr al-Fuhaid stressed that the choice of Doha as the Capital of Arab Tourism 2023 is rightly deserved and it enjoys sophisticated infrastructure and facilities that are considered the pride of all Arabs. He said the success of Doha in hosting the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 drew the attention of the world, making the entire Arab world proud of Doha. He also pointed out that the tourism sector in the Arab world enjoys an increasing interest and huge investments have been made in this sector, estimated to amount to $320bn, and the targeted number of tourists by 2030 is 350mn tourists.
He further talked about the challenges and opportunities in the sector and the efforts of the ATO in promoting and developing the industry in the Arab world. Accordingly, he thanked Qatar for the great reception and generous hospitality.
Accordingly, Dr al-Fuhaid hand over the Arab Tourism Capital's key for 2023 to HE al-Baker to officially made such a declaration.
The ceremony featured a number of events and performances, including a musical performance of songs composed by Qatari musician Dana Alfardan, which blended contemporary music with Qatari traditional tunes. Qatari singer Nasser al-Kubaisi performed a song accompanied by Qatari pianist Hala al-Emadi. There was a brief horse show along with a parade of the flags of all Arab countries, in addition to a Qatari sword dance.
The ceremony concluded with a dazzling fireworks display.
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