Tourism council to start operating in Q2 of 2018
March 26 2018 09:49 PM
Hassan al-Ibrahim
Hassan al-Ibrahim

QNA Doha

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) Acting Chairman Hassan al-Ibrahim has predicted the National Tourism Council will start operating in the second quarter of 2018 under the new governance of the tourism sector.

The council will continue QTA's path and the new governance of the tourism sector will be among the best at the global level thanks to allowing a role for the private sector at the council, which will oversee the development and regulation of the tourism industry, al-Ibrahim said during an interview with Lusail magazine.

Al-Ibrahim further noted that the first meeting of the council will be concerned with the formation and adoption of its internal organisational structure, which will include a representative of the private sector and an executive branch responsible of the exhibition section in order to attract major international conferences that profit the country's economy instead of relying on the state budget.

He pointed out that the council will not have any connection with commercial public sales events, but will rather be limited to monitoring the planning of specialised events that add to the economic value of the state and ensure the conclusion of joint deals that achieve an economic revenue that is greater than mere sale and consumption.

He added that the new council aims to increase the number of international companies in the country's market and contribute to the increase in the numbers of specialised exhibitions.

The QTA acting chairman emphasised that Qatar is moving ahead with a paradigm shift in the tourism sector, and opening up to the world in a careful manner that will not affect Qatari customs and traditions, stressing further that the target segments of the society and the tourism products that are processed for them are carefully studied to be consistent with the nature of the society and the nature of the evolution of human urbanisation in Doha and that family tourism is the priority.

As for the Qatar 2022 World Cup, al-Ibrahim confirmed the strategic partnership between QTA and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), with the authority being part of the preparation system for the tournament in terms of promoting Qatar as a tourist destination and facilitating the entry and exit experience for tourists before, during and after the tournament, in addition to providing adequate accommodation for state guests and visitors during the event.

Al-Ibrahim added that QTA is currently working with the council to discuss attracting cruise ships to use them as a means of accommodation during the tournament, and that there is a specific plan for World Cup 2022 floating hotels that will be announced soon when contract negotiations conclude.

He clarified that the country is concentrating on attracting Chinese tourism as the world's largest tourist market and that over the past year Doha has attracted some 50,000 Chinese tourists, 28 % higher than 2016.

He further explained that the increase was supported by transit visas and expanding the issuance of visa, in addition to Doha's offices in the largest three cities in China in terms of exporting tourism.

He noted that QTA will open a representation office in Russia and another in India next week.

Regarding the contribution weight of tourism to the country's gross domestic product on an annual basis, the acting QTA chairman said that the authority's estimates for 2016 show a rise in direct contribution to the economy, which represented 3.5 % compared to 3.2 % in 2015, and the contribution in the economy to 6.7 % compared to 6.2 % in 2015, while direct contribution to the non-oil economy rose to 5 %, and the total contribution to the non-oil economy in 2016 increased to 9.7 %.

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