Tourism strategy aims to build 'destination Qatar'
September 28 2017 11:46 PM

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) wants to maintain “organic growth” as it continuously works to attract more foreign visitors from countries around the world, a senior official has said. “Even if we are expediting the diversification of our markets and the products we offer, we want to make sure that we are building a destination,” QTA’s chief tourism development officer Hassan al-Ibrahim told reporters at a press briefing at the launch of the ‘Next Chapter of Qatar’s National Tourism Strategy’ on Wednesday.

The event also marked the United Nations' World Tourism Day in Doha, which brought in tourism ministers, industry entrepreneurs and researchers, among other key actors in the sector. QTA finds it fitting for Qatar not to expand its visitor markets in a way that is rapid and sudden when its tourism offerings are not growing as quickly. “The public and private sectors in Qatar are ready to receive tourists from these markets, and we want to focus not just on the numbers but also on the (visitor) experience and the impact on the ground,” al-Ibrahim said. “We believe that from a policy perspective, we are taking the right steps to diversify the markets.”

He stressed that the new five-year tourism plan offers the best possible end-to-end experience and various tourism programmes for visitors.

Qatar launched the ‘Next Chapter of its National Tourism Sector Strategy’ on Wednesday.

QTA will further develop tourism infrastructure across the country, both physical and digital, to facilitate visitors’ journeys to, from and within Qatar. In addition, training programmes will be developed for all government and private sector employees in tourist-facing jobs. United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) secretary-general Taleb Rifai noted that the number of tourists is expected to increase from around 65mn to 150mn in the Arab region by 2030.

UNWTO and QTA forged a partnership two years ago in coming up with a tourism strategy for Qatar, holding a number of training courses to develop different cadres in the country. “We have a political kind of support in the terms of developing the role of the authorities, raising awareness and giving the opportunity to Qatar to convene such meetings,” Rifai explained.

Next Chapter

How was the Next Chapter developed? The Next Chapter is a result of a collaborative, cross-sector process involving:

* Gathering inputs from over 20 public and private sector leaders

* Six workshops with the participation of over 120 stakeholders

* More than 20 hotel managers, tour operators and visitors interviewed

* Consultations with tourism experts

* Regional and global benchmarking studies around the UK, US, Iceland, Oman, Singapore and Australia

* Reviews of all existing tourism strategies

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