THE Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and Qatar Airways work in tandem to promote tourism to the Gulf state.
QTA chairman Akbar Al Baker is also CEO of the airline, which currently has major advertising campaigns on both BBC World television and CNN in which the symbiotic relationship of the two organisations, and their mutually-shared objectives are shown.
The campaigns begin with scenes of the country and statements about its development before launching into a promotion of the airline – promoting the country and the carrier in one go. “A place at the crossroads of the world, selected as host to the Asian Games in 2006 and a country with a fast-growing economy that continues to attract foreign investment – a destination for business and leisure travellers” is how Qatar is described.
The QTA has offices overseas – usually in cities served by Qatar Airways.
The first offices to be established were in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, France and Russia, with the QTA looking at other possible locations. But the decision was also taken to handle marketing in the Middle East from Qatar – at least in the initial stages. Rather than set up those overseas tourism bureaux itself, QTA opted for deals with local organisations.
The UK office was first handled through a British PR agency; but the Authority has now made the decision that all overseas tourism offices should be more tightly linked to the QTA itself – a move that can only be positive and ensure that more extensive, more detailed, information is made available to potential travellers and that staff are in a better position to answer questions.