Some 200 Italian travel agents took part in a three-day mega familiarisation trip to Qatar last week, a Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA)-organised event aimed at attracting more visitors from Italy.
The agents are affiliated with Viaggidea, part of the Alpitour Group, one of Italy’s top three tourism operators, which represents 27% of the Italian tourism market.
According to QTA, the company held its annual summit in Doha, allowing the travel agents operating under its umbrella to enjoy the country’s authentic tourism offerings first-hand.
“This mega familiarisation trip is testament to the shared belief we have in the uniqueness of Qatar’s tourism offering and its relevance to the Italian market,” QTA’s chief tourism development officer Hassan al-Ibrahim said in a statement.
He noted that Italy’s travel agents can offer their clients new and authentic experiences through visits to Qatar and “we are pleased to provide them with the support they need along the way.”
Since 2011, visitor arrivals from Italy have increased by 47%.To build on that growth, QTA started operating a representative office in Milan 18 months ago.
By the end of 2016, Qatar recorded more than 33,000 Italian visitor arrivals.
“Qatar is without any doubt a destination with great potential. We are really grateful to QTA and Qatar Airways for supporting us in the implementation of the largest ever familiarisation trip hosted by Qatar, which included the number one network of travel agencies, the Welcome Travel Group,” Viaggidea brand manager Paolo Guariento said.
“Qatar proved its great tradition of hospitality and thorough attention to detail, and we couldn't have asked for more. Alpitour travel agents will give their maximum support for the development of this fascinating destination,” he added.
Welcome Travel Group CEO Adriano Apicella said the familiarisation trip has been “a thrilling experience characterised by high quality services and perfect organisation from QTA’s side.”
“In addition to modernity and to large investments, we have seen the attention to tradition and culture paid in Qatar’s development, which distinguishes and differentiates the destination from others,” he noted.
The familiarisation trip included a workshop on the destination’s offering and how visitors can plan the perfect trip, site visits to various hospitality establishments in Qatar as well as a desert safari to Khor Al Udaid’s majestic sand dunes and inland sea.
QTA has three more mega familiarisation trips planned this year for agents, tour operators and media from the US, UK and Germany.