New holiday centre will boost travel


A new Qatar Airways Holidays Centre will open in Doha this month, revolutionising the marketing of leisure travel in the country.

The centre which will offer extensive services including VIP suites and an Internet cafŽ, is part of the expanding leisure division of Qatar's national carrier.

Qatar Airways Leisure comprises of Discover Qatar, the inbound destination management company, and Qatar Airways Holidays, the outbound tour operator of the company.

Discover Qatar is aggressively promoting the Gulf nation as an international tourist destination in the GCC with the aim of putting Qatar firmly on the regional tourism map.

"The future of tourism in Qatar is extremely positive," says Qatar Airways Holidays chief Mark Senior.

"Qatar has an ever developing infrastructure and even return visitors are amazed at the level at which Qatar changes each time.

"We have a lot to offer visitors, from good quality hotels, to excellent shopping and one of the best desert experiences in the Gulf.

"Even though the tourism authority has now been established, Qatar Airways and Discover Qatar, are continuing to use their international sales force to create awareness of what the country has to offer and develop business with tour operators and conference and incentive organisers to bring their clients to Qatar."

Senior said Discover Qatar will shortly be launching its own corporate brochure to promote the hotels infrastructure locally and how it can be sold as a serious alternative to other developed GCC destinations.

He said regular fam trips are also being organised by Qatar Airways and Discover Qatar.

"We are committed to educating the international travel community about this market. We even have a fam trip coming in from Canada next week," said Senior.

He said the company was promoting inbound tourism primarily from within the GCC and Europe.

"For outbound travel, we are serving 30 countries around the world, even countries to which Qatar Airways doesn't fly," said Senior.

"There is an ever increasing demand for leisure travel to new destinations such as Austria, Spain and Belgium. Through our partner airlines, we are able to offer competitively priced packages to these and other exciting destinations."

Senior said Dubai, Beirut, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok were among the most popular destinations from Qatar.

"We are recruiting extra staff now due to increased demand from markets such as Malaysia and Thailand. However the European markets are still slow to develop," he said.

He said Qatar Airways Holidays offered a range of value packages overseas for holidaymakers.

"We offer free car hire with packages to Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat. Our excellently priced Eid packages sold out very quickly and we had great success with bookings to destinations such as Cairo, Beirut, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Amman, Dubai," said Senior.

"We also offer free car hire for people coming into Doha on short breaks. In February, we promoted the Amr Diab concert which was held at the Ritz Carlton. We were able to offer fully inclusive packages from all over the GCC into Doha."

He said the company was offering short breaks to Doha as well as golf packages for expatriates resident in the Gulf in association with local hotels and the Doha Golf Club.