QTA targets upscale market
Qatar, thanks to its amazing technological progress, is on its way to becoming a major global leisure destination, said World Tourism Organisation secretary-general Francesco Frangialli.
The intra-Middle East traffic also remains buoyant, he added. Frangialli, citing initial statistics for this year, said that tourism in the Middle East is growing faster even than in Asia, which has been constantly in the spotlight over the past few years as having best prospects. He made the remarks at the National Tourism Conference in Doha, where the story of Qatar as an up and coming vibrant leisure destination was highlighted to a global audience.
Record oil prices have sent government revenues and business confidence soaring in Qatar, promoted by tourism officials as a place of peace and beauty. Speaking of future plans, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) acting director general Jan Poul de Boer said Qatar is in the process of adding new hotel rooms and building “lifestyle resorts”. The North Beach and Entertainment City, for instance, will have 12 hotels, 3,000 villas, two new golf courses, 3,000 lifestyle villas and 12,000 apartments in addition to 3,00,000 sq m of retail space. Part of the property will be freehold and can be owned by foreigners.
QTA actively markets the country’s tourism product regionally and internationally through an integrated programme of promotions and publicity activities. That includes exhibition participation, roadshows, familiarisation visits, collateral production and distribution, media relations and active industry support programmes.
QTA officials meet regularly with hoteliers in the country and with inward-bound tourism operators to study ways in which any pressing challenges can be overcome, and to assist in planning as QTA continues to attract investment, develop strategic tourism assets, and work with tourism businesses to see the industry mature while preserving Qatari culture and traditions.
Qatar offers world-class hotels, restaurants and spa facilities and activities for all the family in a safe and secure environment, he said. Half a million people entered Qatar on tourist visas last year and authorities hope to double this by 2010.
While Qatar is trying to develop its own culture and image, officials deny claims it is trying to mimic Dubai. “Qatar has no desire to copy its neighbours,” stressed de Boer. With no need of the revenue that mass tourism would bring, he said that prosperous Qatar was targeting the upscale market.
Qatar and Qatar Tourism Authority got another international recognition when the country recently received an award for the Middle East’s Leading Tourist and Convention Bureau during the World Travel Awards gala ceremony held in London last month. The Doha Convention Bureau (DCB), an initiative of the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), acts as a first point of contact, a booking facilitator and also plans and monitors the dates of all events and supports the development of MICE infrastructure in the country.