Sign in Register
28 September 2017 12:00 am

World Tourism Day marks new milestones for Qatar

As the host country for 2017 World Tourism Day, Qatar welcomed the world to its doorstep with international delegates and dignitaries from more than 20 countries speaking at celebrations held yesterday at the Sheraton Grand Doha. Click here for a recap of its landmark moments!
Ashlee
Ashlee
Discuss here!
Start a discussion
Dsc-31

(Hassan Al-Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer for the Qatar Tourism Authority addresses the room. Photo credit:Qatar Tourism Authority)

By Ashlee Starratt

Images courtesy of the Qatar Tourism Authority

Crowds gathered in the Al Majles ballroom at the Sheraton Grand Doha on Wednesday, September 27, 2017 to mark the United Nations World Tourism Day. This year saw Qatar make its début as host country under the patronage of Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani.

The theme of WTD 2017 was ‘Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development’, with representatives and speakers from ministries and tourism authorities from more than 20 countries convening to discuss the impact of tourism on sustainable growth and long-term development among nations.

Keynote speakers at the full-day event included HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior for the State of Qatar, HE Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Hassan Al-Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer for the Qatar Tourism Authority, and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, HE Mr. Akbar Al Baker.

Here are some of the milestone moments for Qatar:

  • Qatar declared the region’s most open country due to its recent relaxation of entry-visa requirements and an improved online e-Visa service.
  • There will be the creation of a new governance structure in the form of a National Tourism Council which will replace the Qatar Tourism Authority
  • Tourism’s economic impact is growing with a 5% direct contribution in 2016 to Qatar’s non-oil economy.
  • Qatar has seen a 1,000% increase in cruise passengers this last year, with the redevelopment of Doha Port underway.
  • The Shop Qatar Festival has had an estimated QR 1.06 billion economic impact for 2017.
  • Last year’s Qatar Summer Festival had an estimated QR 630 million economic impact for 2016.
  • QTA has over 260 campaigns in international markets to position Qatar as a prime tourist destination.
  • Qatar is the only country in the Middle East to achieve consistent growth for a decade.
  • Qatar’s declared to have the Best Guest Experience in the GCC.
  • Doha is rated among the Top 100 City Destinations in the world.

(Hassan Al-Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer for the Qatar Tourism Authority presents a model of the upcoming Al Mashabiya resort to HE Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTOPhoto credit: Qatar Tourism Authority)

Bringing Qatar to the world

During the World Tourism Day assembly Hassan Al-Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer for the Qatar Tourism Authority, unveiled the QTA’s newest update to the Qatar National Tourism Strategy called the Next Chapter. It’s a 5-year plan that aims to build upon the upward development trend of sustainable tourism growth in Qatar up to and beyond the 2022 FIFA World Cup

Here are a few of its targets by 2023:

  • 5.6 million visitors
  • 67% leisure visitors
  • 4 million hotel guests
  • QR 4.3 billion direct contribution to Qatar’s GDP (representing 3.8%)
  • QR 81.2 billion total (direct & indirect) contribution to Qatar’s GDP (representing 7.5%)

Here are a few upcoming new tourist sectors in development for Qatar:

  • Traditional snorkeling & diving
  • Luxury dhow cruises
  • Helicopter tours
  • Free-diving & pearl-diving excursions
  • Relaxation and environmental tourism in Dukhan
  • Family resorts, nature reserves, and desert and hunting experiences in Al Mashabiya and Al Eraiq.
  • Hot air balloon tours
  • Desert tours on horseback
  • Desert safari and wildlife tours
  • Camping and adventure experiences in Al-Udaid and Sealine

The Next Chapter of Qatar’s National Tourism Strategy, will also focus on creating a favourable experience for visitors at every touch-point, with the creation of programs that aim to facilitate interactions and shared experiences between Qatar’s residents and its guests, as well as ensuring physical and digital infrastructure is in place to facilitate visitor’s journeys to, from, and within Qatar.

What do you think of these milestones for Qatar on World Tourism Day? Drop us a line in the comments below and let us know your thoughts. Also, don’t forget to like and share this article!