Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) plans to build on last year’s successful participation at the ITB-Asia exhibition by leading a strong tourism delegation to the 2015 edition of Asia’s top travel trade event.  
The three-day business-to-business trade show and convention, which takes place at the Sands Expo  & Convention Centre in Singapore from tomorrow, is expected to attract an attendance exceeding last year’s 9,650 visitors from 108 countries, including more than 850 trade buyers.
The QTA’s stand will be one of the more than 50 national pavilions featured among a total of some 750 exhibitors representing all sectors of the international travel trade.
Along with members from QTA, the delegation includes representatives from Grand Hyatt Doha, Wyndham Grand Regency Hotel Doha, Qatar Airways Holidays, Arabian adventures Qatar, Arab Destination of Tourism and FAL Travelmart Travel & Tours.
“The scale and reach of ITB-Asia offer us an excellent showcase for Qatar’s tourism attractions in the rapidly developing Asia-Pacific market,” QTA’s chief marketing and promotions officer Rashed al-Qurese said.
He noted that many of Qatar’s most rapidly expanding visitor source markets are in the Far East.
“We are seeing some impressive growth figures from the region, including 22% for Hong Kong, 17% for China and 34% for Thailand during the first eight months of 2015,” he said. “The numbers are currently still relatively small, but our primary interest is the long-term potential, which we believe to be excellent.”  
The QTA delegation at ITB-Asia, including representatives of leading Doha hotels and destination management companies, will highlight Qatar’s growing status as a premium destination for both business travellers and leisure tourists.  
Al-Qurese said emphasis will be placed on the country’s exceptional location and accessibility, citing Qatar Airways’ direct flights to more than 140 cities around the world. These include excellent services to all major South East Asian capitals.
He added that this opens the possibility of actively promoting stopovers for travellers en route from South East Asia to Europe.
QTA will also feature Qatar as a destination offering SE Asian travellers an outstanding range of cultural experiences. This will be reflected in the booth design, while on-stand attractions will include a henna artist.
Since last year’s ITB-Asia, al-Qurese noted that QTA had opened a representative office in Singapore to cover South East Asia and Hong Kong.
“This reflects our positive view of the exciting prospects of the region for Qatar,” he said.
“Experience shows that having an on-the-ground presence makes a vital contribution to maximising tourism potential, by facilitating close liaison with the outbound travel trade, including tour operators, travel agencies and Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) and event organisers, as well as with the media,” the QTA official added.
He believes the Singapore office helps in providing a destination information service and in mounting market specific promotions to develop consumer awareness among potential leisure and business travelers.
Qatar’s traditional strength as a business destination is another area with significant potential in the Asia-Pacific market and the QTA will take advantage of ITB-Asia to promote the destination’s attractions for the MICE sector, according to al-Qurese.
The upcoming opening of the new Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre is also expected to provide QTA an opportunity to highlight how it is building up Qatar’s infrastructure and enhancing its capabilities in hosting MICE events, according to exhibitions director Hamad al-Abdan.