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Qatar: A tourism game changer

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News Desk |

For the second consecutive year, Qatar’s hospitality sector has been ranked as one of the best in the Middle East, according to the Guest Experience in the Middle East Report.

Guest Experience Report by Olery

Qatar climbed the ranking scale to sixth on the Guest Experience Report, overtaking the United Arab Emirates (UAE) that dropped from sixth to seventh place in the Middle East Report published by hospitality and travel data providers, Olery.

The report analyzed over 12 million online guest reviews in the past 12 months – from April 1st, 2018 to March 31st, 2019- via online booking sites. According to the results obtained from these online guest reviews, Qatar’s position in the hospitality sector has improved drastically. In an analysis of the overall guest satisfaction, the quality of service, cleanliness, and location, received a 9 rating at average; an overwhelming score that is said to be the global benchmark in each of the categories included. Additionally, it received an average of 8.7 ranking score in the hospitality sector that includes: rooms, food, and facilities.

The ambition of the QNTC to reach new heights is self-evident in the fact that the council is expected to report to a board chaired directly by Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Prime Minister of Qatar.

Qatar’s tourism rate had been greatly affected as a result of the boycott of GCC countries, which decreased by more than a third during the first half of 2018. The number of visitors/tourists traveling to Qatar fell from 1.5 million in 2017 to  945,000 in 2018. Hassan Al-Ibrahim, the head of the then Qatar Tourism Authority, accused the neighboring GCC states of “weaponizing” tourism as part of the blockade strategy in a conference held in Doha, in October 2018. The Middle East Report on guest experience, however, confirms Qatar’s determination in working to improve the tourism and hospitality industry.

Qatar Government’s Commitment Towards Tourism and Hospitality Sectors

According to the Qatar National Tourism Council’s (QNTC) agenda for the next four years, tourism has been identified as one of the five priority sectors by Qatar’s leadership in order to institute a diversified economy. Previously known as, “Qatar Tourism Authority”, the National Tourism Council or QNTC, is focused on achieving new targets with the institutional assistance provided through setting new governance structures for the tourism sector. The QNTC is primarily focused on coordination, consolidation and focuses on its key members and stakeholders.

The ambition of the QNTC to reach new heights is self-evident in the fact that the council is expected to report to a board chaired directly by Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Prime Minister of Qatar. This fact signifies the determination and commitment of the government towards the development of its tourism and hospitality industry.

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Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) secretary-general HE Akbar al-Baker said: “Qatar’s hospitality sector remains a key engine of our tourism vision. We congratulate our partners in the private sector for their continued growth and their focus on providing travelers with unparalleled hospitality and authentic experiences”.

Medyaf Ambassador Program

Various initiatives are being taken to actively involve private sector partnerships in the tourism and hospitality sector. Medyaf Ambassador Program, an initiative of QNTC, primarily focuses on engaging individuals and businesses to create an ecosystem of “authentic visitor experience”, for the propagation of a sustainable tourism policy and development. Through this initiative, members of the Qatari community, both residents and citizens, are given an opportunity to participate towards promulgating Qatar as a “Premium Destination for Business Events”.

It gives a diversified sense of tourism and hospitality with numerous options to choose from. A little-known fact about Qatar is the presence of the breathtaking natural wonders that add to its beauty.

In addition to empowering its communities, the QNTC offers support, services and tools to help communities achieve their goals through various means, such as; education and training, guidance in setting up a local chapter of any association/society, services to provide assistance in the preparation of documents and site inspection coordination, lobbying with international, regional and local entities; coordination with business events stakeholders in Qatar, and the provision of support and logistics for the teams involved.

Qatar – A Hybrid of Traditional, Historical and Modern Infrastructure  

Qatar is known for keeping up with the modern changes in the world while simultaneously retaining its cultural heritage at the same time. The government has preserved key historical artifacts and art pieces in a number of traditional museums and art galleries spreading all across Qatar including: The Museum of Islamic Art, Msheireb Enrichment Centre, Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art, Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum, Al Markhiya Gallery, Al Riwaq Doha, Souq Waqif Arts Center and the Doha Fire Station artists’ community.

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Along with its traditional heritage, Qatar has supported works of modern art and architecture. Various public art installations across Qatar include sculptures and artworks by prominent names, with the likes of; Richard Serra, Damien Hirst, El Seed, Louise Bourgeois, Subodh Gupta, Sara Lucas, Urs Fischer, and Tom Claassen. These installations give a sense of freedom of art and modernity.

Unlike most of the GCC countries, Qatar has preserved its historical sites in the finest and in the most well-preserved ways possible. Qatar’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites include Al Zubarah, Barzan Towers, Al Wajbah Fort, Al Koot Fort and the neolithic Al Jassasiya rock carvings.

Luxury, Adventure and Natural Wonders

Unlike other Middle Eastern states, Qatar is home to luxury, adventure and natural wonders, all at the same time. It gives a diversified sense of tourism and hospitality with numerous options to choose from. A little-known fact about Qatar is the presence of the breathtaking natural wonders that add to its beauty. Despite having a desert climate, Qatar is home to exotic Flora and Fauna, with a wide variety of birds, reptiles and the Arabian Oryx.

Al Thakira Mangroves, a large area of vegetation with its own ecosystem that attracts varied bird life, including flamingos and herons.

Additionally, Qatar’s sand desert, with its high dunes, is a major attraction both for recreational safaris or simply to enjoy the dramatic landscape and clear night skies. On the west coast of Qatar, the area around Ras Abrouq is noted for its lunar-like landscape of limestone rock formations sculpted into rugged shapes by the wind, a hauntingly beautiful site to experience.

Dhal Al Misfir, a 40m deep cave, is made of fibrous gypsum that sometimes gives off a faint, moon-like phosphorescent glow. Al Thakira Mangroves, a large area of vegetation with its own ecosystem that attracts varied bird life, including flamingos and herons. Fishery and Pearl diving, a livelihood for many Qataris in the seas, is also a site to behold for the tourists.

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Other than the hidden natural bounties of Qatar, there are a number of luxury and adventure spots available, specifically designed for tourists, including the Doha Corniche, a number of luxury resorts and beaches, water sports, desert adventures, shopping festivals, modern and traditional Qatari cuisine and much more to explore.

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