Post 2022 FIFA World Cup, which catapulted Qatar into the global stage, the country is “on track” in its transformation into a hub for a wide range of tourism activities, a panel discussion revealed during the ‘Qatar Investment Conference 2023: Qatar National Vision & Beyond’, organised on Thursday by The Business Year (TBY).
Moderated by TBY senior country editor Silvia Lambiase, the panel discussion ‘Qatar’s Remarkable Journey: A Vision for Tourism and Infrastructure Development’ featured industry experts Rahul Potdar, director, Portfolio Management Development, Qatari Diar; Khaled al-Suwaidi, director of projects, Katara Hospitality; and Khalid al-Jassim, senior business development officer, Qetaifan Projects.
According to al-Jassim, in the pipeline are many events that aim to propel Qatar towards its goal of becoming a tourist destination by 2030. Under the Qatar National Vision 2030, tourism is expected to have around “12%” of Qatar’s GDP, he noted.
Between now and the 2030 Asian Games, al-Jassim said many events on the anvil are also expected to utilise the different multi-billion infrastructure that was built for the FIFA World Cup.
Aside from sports events, al-Jassim stressed that Qatar is, likewise, excelling in education and entertainment, which will also play a role in generating tourism-related activities across the country.
“Qatar has seven of the best universities in the world and many people come to accomplish their educational and career goals and earn their degrees. On the entertainment side, we have the Qetaifan Project,” al-Jassim said, citing the Qetaifan Island North as among the company’s top assets.
On a similar note, al-Suwaidi agreed that family tourism is among the key drivers of the sector in the country. He said Katara Hospitality is in line with Qatar’s goal to position itself as a safe family destination.
“The government is capitalising on this strength or strong point in our brand and our location on the map. So, being known as one of the safest countries in the world and very family friendly is a big plus; it's actually in line with that brand,” al-Suwaidi said, adding that Katara Hospitality’s assets worldwide are also known for its family-friendly services.
Potdar also reiterated that family tourism is a “big key differentiator” for Qatar, which was proven during the country’s successful hosting of the World Cup.
“We made it into a very family-oriented, resoundingly successful World Cup to that extent...I think family tourism stands out clearly as being that edge. And I think that's the focus going forward.
“And I think everything that we are working on today is oriented towards making sure that we take on the success of the World Cup that we've demonstrated worldwide to take it on and prove that if you want a family holiday or if you want to enjoy with your family, Qatar is the place,” Potdar pointed out.