Doha will be “a force to reckon with” as a destination for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE); weddings; and shopping by 2023, a senior official of a focused destination and event management company has said.

“People are always willing to explore new destinations and Qatar is going to be that new jewel in the region’s crown going forward,” Tamarind Global managing director Mahesh Shirodkar told Gulf Times.

The India-based company extends highly customised travel services to the B2B (business-to-business) and ‘B2C’ (business-to-consumer) market segments across the globe and provides seamless logistics on a turnkey basis for weddings, events and MICE.

In an e-mail interview, Shirodkar cited Qatar’s growing popularity as a tourism destination due to its bespoke offerings, especially for Indian weddings.

He noted that the country “ticks all the essential boxes” when looking at a destination for Indian weddings: short-haul flights, accessibility, free visa on arrival, great winter weather and world-class infrastructure with a variety of wedding-friendly hotels.

Shirodkar added that the local people’s friendliness will also continue to attract more visitors, apart from being a unique destination “from a wedding point of view.”

“We see it as a promising destination for Indian celebrations and envisage bringing in a lot more business in the coming years,” he said. “There is also a large Indian diaspora which makes it easier for us, considering the cultural sensitivities.”

Indian families also count safety as among the key factors in identifying a destination to hold such special occasions, according to Shirodkar.

Qatar ranks among the safest countries in the world due to low crime rates and the absence of terrorism, among other factors.

Shirodkar announced that they will be involved in a number of big weddings in Doha this season before March next year, with small and large guest lists coming from all over the world.

“The hotels we are looking at are Ritz-Cartlon, St Regis, Sharq Village and Marsa Malaz Kempinski, to name a few,” he added. “I also believe there are plans to have more big hotels under the Katara Hospitality opening in the near future, which could be wedding-friendly.”

Shirodkar said these hotels have remarkable infrastructure, flexibility in attitude, world-class service and a desire to be associated with a wedding segment.

About granting visa-free entry to nationalities from 80 countries, he stressed that breaking down such barriers and providing seamless experience attract visitors from all over the world.

Shirodkar described such move as a huge step to bridge all borders that will result in exponential footfalls into the country.

“Qatar’s National Tourism Council, I am sure, has been formed with a lot of thought and going forward, the management who heads the Board will surely be progressive and proactive in ensuring they work closely with the stakeholders wanting to have a liaison to promote Doha as a destination,” he added.

“The wedding segment especially in India is recession-free and hence this is something no tourism sector can ignore,” Shirodkar said. “I have had several meetings with representatives of the NTC and with their blessings and support I am sure whatever challenges exist to facilitate this segment will surely be resolved.”

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