In the wake of a successful 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar Tourism (QT) will continue “to push strongly ahead” to deliver the country’s 2030 tourism strategy in a bid to transform Qatar into the Middle East’s fastest-growing travel destination, chairman & Qatar Airways Group CEO HE Akbar al-Baker said Wednesday.
He was making the opening remarks at the three-day UFI MEA Regional Conference, which concludes in Doha Thursday.
According to al-Baker, Qatar has been firmly established on the world stage as a leading international tourism destination following the incredible success of the 2022 FIFA World Cup tournament.
In his speech, al-Baker said, “Focusing efforts on developing speciality sectors, such as meetings, conferences, and exhibitions, is key to how the country plans to achieve its long-term goals.”
He noted that Qatar possesses all the essential ingredients required for safe, seamless, and productive business travel.
“Ideally positioned at the centre of the world, Doha’s multi-award-winning Hamad International Airport is a six to eight-hour flight from most of the world’s major cities.
At the same time, visitors can be confident that they will encounter smooth travel to and around the country.
“Qatar Airways’ unrivalled facilities and service levels have seen the country’s official air carrier awarded the world’s best airline seven times – a truly remarkable achievement,” al-Baker stressed.
Qatar is also officially “one of the world’s most open countries” in terms of visa facilitation, al-Baker said, citing Qatar Tourism’s recent announcement of the unified e-visa processes through the Hayya platform.
“Once inside the country, guests have various transportation options open to them, including the new, state-of-the-art metro and tram network,” he pointed out.
Al-Baker also emphasised that Qatar is committed to developing and maintaining the country’s “already impressive suite” of meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE) infrastructure.
“Sleek and modern meeting and conference facilities exist across 128 properties, plus an exhibition capacity of 70,000sq m – between the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, and Qatar National Convention Centre.
“On an annual basis, some of the region’s most prominent events are hosted in these venues, ranging from much-loved Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition to globally recognised medical conferences and this year’s first: The Geneva International Motor Show Qatar,” he stressed.
He said, “Qatar offers a varied and world-class selection of accommodation options in which to relax after a business meeting, ranging from beachfront resorts to world-renowned five-star hotels in the heart of the city like today’s hosting venue, the Fairmont & Raffles Hotel.
“After hours, business travellers are sure to find something to suit their preferences amongst our industry-leading leisure and hospitality facilities. And with a spate of upcoming leisure attractions and a dynamic pipeline of events taking place throughout the year, Qatar is an ideal choice for business travellers from around the world.”
The UFI MEA Regional Conference was held in Doha for the very first time and hosted by QT. The annual event by the UFI, the Global Association of the Exhibition Industry, is the Middle East’s largest gathering of business event professionals.
Hosting the event marks an important step for QT, which regards speciality tourism sectors, such as MICE as essential to achieving its long-term goal of increasing the number of visitors.
Al-Baker said, “We are delighted to host such a highly regarded conference in Qatar for the first time. Qatar has bold ambitions to become a global leader in business events, which Qatar Tourism views as central to achieving its 2030 tourism goals.
“Qatar’s strategic location, multi-award-winning airline and airport, open visa facilitation and industry-leading selection of conferencing and exhibition facilities, make it an ideal choice for seamless, productive, and enjoyable business travel.”
This year’s conference centred on the theme ‘Towards a Sustainable Growth,’ and delved into actionable strategies and solutions that can assist business leaders in fulfilling their climate goals. The event also featured a diverse range of thought-provoking interviews and stimulating panel discussions, all led by highly respected figures within the industry.
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