Qatar can become a cultural destination with its significant investment in iconic cultural sites such as the Museum of Islamic Art, Souq Waqif, and the upcoming National Museum of Doha among others, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation secretary general Dr Taleb Rifai said.
“With its investment of $17bn in 130 new hotels, resorts and other leisure facilities, a new international airport, a new port with cruise passenger terminal and some 12 sport stadiums for the next five years, Qatar is sure to become a leading tourism destination,” he predicted.
Rifai was speaking at the launch of the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy (QNTSS) 2030 at Katara yesterday. A gathering of prominent officials and various stakeholders in the tourism industry that included HE Sheikha Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums Authority and Minister for Culture, Arts and Heritage HE Dr Hamad bin Abdula Aziz al-Kuwari was present.
“I would commend the government of Qatar for giving tourism such a high level of priority by defending the sector as a strategic pillar within National Vision 2030. This is a clear recognition of the role tourism can play in boosting the image of Qatar , diversifying its economic base, creating job opportunities and driving sustainable development in the country.”
He said that Qatar is a success story with more and more people admiring the positive efforts taken by the country in a number of areas.
“Qatar with its strong vision, ambitious strategy and impressive investment portfolio, has huge potential which can not only strongly boost the country’s image but also bring significant socio-economic benefits to the Qatari people,” he added.
Rifai also observed that investments in Meetings, Incentives Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sector is making Qatar an upscale destination reputed for quality and excellence. It is attracting global events with its increasing development of sustainable exhibition centres.
The UNWTO official also suggested that hosting of FIFA World Cup 2022 must be used as an opportunity to brand Qatar in the international community. “It should also build a legacy strategy that reflects directly on tourism. There must be proper investment and proper utilisation of the event to help Qatar build up a great legacy for the entire world,” he emphasised.
The official also said that UNWTO will work to develop Qatar’s national system of tourism statistics and its capacity to measure the economic impact of tourism.
“UNWTO is pleased to have played an active role in the process and proud to be working with Qatar Tourism Authority to implement its objectives. We will be supporting QTA’s work in the areas of destination marketing, product development and investment promotion,” he concluded.