The business events sector is an important pillar of the Qatar National Tourism Council’s (QNTC) wider strategy to develop tourism in Qatar, a senior QNTC official has said.
Ahmed al-Obaidli also stressed that the QNTC has been working with local and international stakeholders to attract more tourists to the country.
With as many as 137 events and conferences held in the country last year, tourism activities contribute “about 2.3%” to Qatar’s GDP, he added.
Asked about tourism’s spillover effect on local retailers and other establishments, al-Obaidli said this depends on the types of conference or event held and the number of visitors and exhibitors.
“We classify events into ‘mega’, ‘mid-size’ or ‘small’ event. A mega event usually gathers around 7,000 people or more. And if you multiply this by $500, which is the average amount a tourist spends, then this will give you a good number. This is why we are focusing on attracting these associations to hold their events in Qatar,” al-Obaidli said.
The official noted that Qatar will be hosting several mega events over the next three years. These include the 10th edition of the ‘All Together Better Health’ (ATBH) conference in 2020, which, al-Obaidli emphasised, “is the first time the event would be held in the Middle East”.
Similarly, Qatar will host the 2020 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Forum, and the annual congress of Union Internationale des Concierges d’Hotels (UICH) in 2021, he pointed out.
“At QNTC and the Qatar Business Events Corporation, we are focusing on helping and aiding the local private sector to attract these big international events and conferences.
“We are working with them in putting attractive packages, which include the airlines and hoteliers; these packages are aimed at attracting international associations to hold their meetings in venues here, such as the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre,” al-Obaidli said.
He added, “And since we have the infrastructure in the country, as well as an airline that connects Qatar to over 160 destinations worldwide, Qatar has become an attractive market for many international associations.
“We are working alongside local and international stakeholders to make sure that when the tourists come, whether they are here for business or leisure, they will have a good experience in the country so, tourism experience is among the main factors that we are focusing on at QNTC.”
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