QTM to promote Qatar as a global destination

Rawad Sleem, Co-Founder & General Manager of NeXTfairs, the organiser of QTM

Qatar Travel Mart (QTM 2021), the first exhibition of its kind in Qatar to promote both inbound and outbound tourism and to cater specifically to the travel and tourism industry will be held from November 16 to 18 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center.

The show will provide a market place for a mutual relationship to both local and international tourism businesses by promoting, upholding and discovering the place, people, and culture.

QTM 2021 is bringing together various international tourism boards, national and regional tourist offices, airlines, tour operators, hoteliers travel agents, and online travel companies, all in one roof.

TTN spoke to Rawad Sleem, Co-Founder & General Manager of NeXTfairs, the organiser of QTM.


Please tell us about the inaugural Qatar Travel Mart (QTM 2021) and how it fits in Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030. Who are the partners and organisers of this exhibition?

To begin with, we are grateful for the support and patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Kalid Bin Khalifa Bin Abdulaziz Al Thani and the Qatari government as a whole during this testing period and for supporting the vision of QTM 2021.

As Qatar steadily enhances its presence in the international business community, Qatar Travel Mart in its inaugural edition is an excellent venue to promote the country as a global business and tourism destination with huge investment potentials in conjunction with providing a marketplace for a mutual relationship to both local and international tourism businesses.

With Qatar having the potential to become one of the top tourist destinations in the world, QTM 2021 will promote both inbound and outbound tourism and the inbound element ties in directly with the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 that spells out the focus of future tourism development based on developing a diversified, premium product that attracts families and travellers looking for new cultural experiences. The outbound element will provide the platform for international destinations, companies and travel and tourism entities to promote themselves to the Qatari market.

The event will focus on a holistic experience covering luxury, business, medical, sports, MICE, halal tourism, leisure and cultural tourism trends.

Building on our ideal to discover places, people, and cultures, we have secured the strategic partnership of the Qatar Tourism alongside a group of elite entities such as Katara Hospitality, Discover Qatar and Qatar Airways Holidays, our association partners in AMFORHT (World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Training), WLO (World Leisure Organisation) and WTACH (World Tourism Association for culture & Heritage) to name a few.


Is this a hybrid event, taking place both live and virtually?

The focus of the event is the face-to-face element. The industry is in desperate need of a face to face travel and tourism exhibition hence the importance of QTM 2021. We will, however, also be making use of the virtual element through our very own virtual platform for broader reach of our conference sessions and exhibitor promotions. The virtual exhibition area will be available for sponsors, supporting organisations, and other participating companies to demonstrate their products, services, and cutting-edge technologies to a large number of potential clients and partners from the various sectors and from all over the world while the B2B matchmaking feature will also be available virtually, wherein high-quality meetings and networking can take place between participants to generate quality leads and increase their business opportunities. Lastly, the virtual conference room will feature all panel discussions, presentations, and workshops live and on demand.


Please tell us about health and safety measures in place for the event.

When it comes to the event’s health and safety measures, the well-being of all our participants is our utmost priority. We will be following all guidelines issued by the Ministry of Public Health and the WHO throughout the event. We have partnered with entities such as the world- renowned public health pioneers, Boecker, who will be sanitising the hall regularly throughout the duration of the exhibition as well as providing the highest quality sanitizers and safety material to all visitors and exhibitors. Qatar Red Crescent will be providing on-site support throughout the duration of the event in the form of medical and isolation facilities along with their team of highly skilled paramedics. All participants will be required to show their green status EHTERAZ application prior to entering the venue and no persons under the age of 18 will be allowed to enter. As mentioned previously, the health and safety of our participants is at the forefront of our plans and no effort will be spared in this regard.


Who can exhibit and who are some of the confirmed exhibitors? Who should attend the exhibition? 

When it comes to exhibitor profiles, we welcome entities from various travel and tourism sectors such as tourism boards, governmental agencies, travel agents & tour operators, DMC’s, medical tourism providers, hotels and resorts, airlines and sports tourism entities to name a few. We are very proud in having a very diverse and prestigious group of confirmed exhibitors, in addition to the high profile brands mentioned previously, we are privileged to have on board Aspire & Torch Hospitality, Retaj Hotels & Hospitality, Doha Bus, Visit Maldives, ENIT – The Italian Tourism Board, Azerbaijan Pavilion, Rwanda Pavilion, Korea Tourism Organization, Dominican Republic Pavilion, Cyprus Pavilion, Gulf Adventures LLC, First Travel & Tourism, National Cruise Company, to name just a few.

When it comes to who should attend, we welcome everyone who wants to have the opportunity to compare offers, find new business partners, meet key decision-makers from local and international tourism authorities, and much more and these could comprise of people such as travel agents, travel enthusiasts, tour operators, corporate travel decision makers, associations and its members and luxury travel promoters.


Please tell us about your hosted buyers programme? Which countries will you choose the hosted buyers from?

QTM’s Strategic Partner, Qatar Tourism, will bring together 24 high profile, decision makers and international buyers from all over the world to Qatar for pre-arranged face-to-face meetings through the Hosted Buyers Program. Giving exhibitors the opportunity to meet senior decision makers and tourism experts from around the world, source potential investments and joint ventures, and achieve real business interactions. The hosted buyers which are hand-picked by Qatar Tourism will be coming from countries such as the USA, UK, Turkey, GCC and Asian countries and these buyers will be meeting with all exhibitors throughout the three-day event. We are expecting roughly 1,000 meetings to take place between the hosted buyers and relevant exhibitors during the course of the event.


What will the various talks and conference programmes focus on?

The three-day conference entitled “Tourism Development and Management Conference” will feature talks on Safer tourism; Sports tourism, strategy and responsibility; Accessible tourism – what it really means? Cultural heritage and responsible tourism in today’s world; and Ensuring inclusivity in tourism and hospitality;  along with the seminar which will include destination presentations, upcoming medical tourism destinations and tourism technology. It’ll also feature various panel discussions that will tackle tourism’s most current and relevant discussions.


You have hosted some really interesting talks in the lead up to the event this November – can you please tell us about the key learnings?

In order to prepare and entice our audience in the lead up to the much anticipated QTM 2021, our webinar series, which is now on its 7th edition, has proved to be a major success during this period with overwhelming participation and responses throughout. Our distinguished panel of speakers have delivered informative sessions on various destinations, topics and important travel and tourism matters and our registrants have been extremely engaged by these talks and webinars. Our recent Webinar sessions with Italy: On Tourism, Destinations and Recovery as well as with Tanzania: The Future of Tourism re-emphasised the points that countries around the world are ready to welcome visitors again after an extremely tough 18 months and that the tourism sector and corresponding entities are adjusting to the “new normal” with regards to health and safety in order to prepare for the re-igniting of travel and tourism. Overall, the take away from our webinars and talks have proved the resilience of the travel and tourism sector and the overwhelming response from travellers wanting to get back to travel.