By Sports Reporter/Doha
Qatar’s partnership with French football giants, Paris Saint-Germain, is reflecting a positive impact on the country’s tourism industry, according to a senior Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) official, speaking on the eve of the friendly between PSG and Inter Milan FC at Doha’s Al Sadd Stadium.
The number of French visitor arrivals during 2015 has reached 45,626 as of 26th December, which reflects a growth of 43% in leisure visitors from France, and an 8% growth on arrivals since 2014, placing France as Qatar’s second largest source market in Europe.
“We believe there is positive potential for further healthy growth in the French market,” stated Rashed AlQurese, Chief Marketing & Promotions Officer. “Since establishing our QTA Paris representative office in 2013, our relationships within the French market has shown incredible growth with 20 French Tour Operators now featuring Qatar from only two Tour Operators in 2013.”
Equally impressive is the interest in the destination from French travel agency front end staff with over 500 individual French travel agents registering to join QTA’s ‘Tawash’ online destination training course. To date 205 members have successfully graduated to become qualified Qatar tourism experts creating a powerful and enthusiastic network of knowledgeable partners promoting and selling Qatar’s tourist attractions.
“Our partnership with a prominent sporting institution like Paris Saint-Germain is a key pillar in our strategic approach to promote Qatar in the French market. The positive growth results have clearly demonstrated the effectiveness of this strategy,” commented AlQurese, QTA’s Chief Marketing and Promotions Officer.
Since 2012, QTA and Paris Saint-Germain have worked on a strategic partnership to promote Qatar’s sport and leisure tourism offerings. QTA has hosted five tours for PSG teams, including the Qatar Winter Tour of 2013 and 2015, Qatar Handball Tour 2014 and 2015, and Qatar Ladies Tour 2015.
A further aspect of this partnership affords QTA the continuous presence at PSG’s home stadium in Paris where thousands of football fans experience a flavour of Qatari culture and hospitality through interaction with Qatari cultural and heritage offerings.
“We are delighted to welcome the PSG team back to Qatar closing 2015 with what promises to be a memorable game between two of Europe’s top clubs,” said AlQurese. “Attracting visitors to top level sports events is key in developing a strong sports and leisure tourism industry. Our partners at PSG are great ambassadors in promoting Qatar’s tourist attractions and we wish them an enjoyable stay with us in Qatar once again.”
The friendly with Inter Milan takes place as the culmination of PSG’s traditional mid-season training camp in Qatar. The squad have been preparing for the second half of the season at Doha’s Aspire Zone sports complex.
For the Qatar Winter Tour, QTA developed an innovative campaign that allowed PSG fans to take a virtual journey with their favourite player to experience different routings in Qatar, including visits to landmarks, restaurants and hotels. By the end of it, users of the app created the itinerary of their choice, titled ‘My Dream Trip’, to enter into a draw.
The prize on offer gave two of the participants the opportunity to travel with a friend and the PSG team to Qatar to experience their Dream Trip and this further included attending PSG training sessions, participating in tourism activities, and attending the Inter Milan friendly.
Yesterday afternoon, six Paris Saint-Germain team members took time out from their training camp at Aspire Zone for some relaxation. The players, Edinson Cavani, Layvin Kurzawa, Marquinhos, Blaise Matuidi, Javier Pastore and Marco Verratti, explored Doha through a series of activities organised by QTA, including a round of golf, trip to Katara Cultural Village and stroll along the Corniche.
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