Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) highlighted several of its achievements, particularly in the field of digitisation, to mark this year’s World Tourism Day being held in Budapest, Hungary on Thursday under the theme ‘Tourism and Digital Transformation.’
“Indeed it has been a transformative year as we have reaped the first fruits of our sector's digitisation efforts. Our e-licensing system has been instrumental in streamlining the start-up and license renewal processes for our sector partners,” QTA’s acting chairman Hassan al-Ibrahim said in a press statement.
“Our push for digitising our destination marketing campaigns with online platforms such as China’s Sina Weibo and WeChat demonstrated our destination's ability in responding to our different priority market preferences,” he noted.
QTA is also seeing its mobile applications being used frequently as part of its public engagement tools for new festivals and tourism events, according to al-Ibrahim.
The annual event, hosted by Qatar in 2017, witnessed Prime Minister and Interior Minister HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani launching the ‘Next Chapter of the National Tourism Sector Strategy,’ which aims to enhance the end-to-end visitor experience in Qatar.
The five-year plan, approved by the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment, paved the way for the activation of policies promoting and boosting tourism growth in Qatar by opening new markets such as China, India and Russia.
Apart from strengthening the country’s presence in Europe, America, and Asia, it is learnt that the strategy also provided a wide range of tourism products, new investment opportunities for the private sector, and boosted various tourism projects aimed at enticing more tourists from around the world to visit Qatar.
“Qatar's tourism sector is going through an exceptional period of transformation and growth and what we are able to achieve is possible, thanks to the collaboration of our public and private sector partners,” al-Ibrahim said.
“As the country gears up to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, there is a strong spotlight on our country and our tourism capabilities,” he stressed, as he encouraged the youth, entrepreneurs and investors in Qatar “to be part of this exciting phase in the sector's development journey.”
The acting chairman noted that the United Nations World Tourism Organisation’s openness rankings released last month placed Qatar as the 8th most open in the world and the most open country in the Middle East.
“Openness and ease of access are crucial elements of the visitor experience. This achievement follows on a series of initiatives we have taken in that regard,” al-Ibrahim said.
He cited the launch of the Electronic Travel Authorisation; a 96-hour transit visa; an online platform for processing visa applications and issuing e-visas as well as a visa waiver for nationals of more than 80 countries in 2017.
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