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Qatar investing in technology & tourism: New tech-power in making?

Qatar is the only Muslim country fully committed to become a global tourist destination and hub for scientific development.

Qatar

Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund is seeking to increase investments in technology companies, unfazed by recent declines in the sector, its chief executive officer said. Qatar’s efforts to appear as a modern Muslim state are manifested in different ways.

The Qatar Investment Authority “will keep investing in technology as it is the most important sector right now,” Mansoor Al Mahmoud told reporters in Doha. “We think we are underweight” and are “trying to catch up.”

Middle East sovereign wealth funds have been beefing up their investments in the industry after previously spending billions of dollars on trophy assets, such as London real estate and stakes in global banks.

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

The QIA, which has assets of about $320 billion, hired Bank of America Corp. dealmaker Tristan Lacroix to bolster its push into technology, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg in September. While some technology startups have generated huge amounts of wealth over the past decade, companies like WeWork and Uber Technologies Inc. have been unable to match private market valuations.

QIA has invested in companies including Foursquare Labs Inc., biotech firm Rubius Therapeutics Inc., Homology Medicines Inc., Thoughtspot Inc. and Grail Inc. as part of the expansion of its venture capital unit, people familiar with the matter said last December. The fund in 2017 said it would open an office in San Francisco to focus on the technology industry.

Qatar’s efforts to expand its economy

Qatar has been focusing on improving technology and tourism after a unilateral blockade was imposed on it by the GCC countries led by Saudi Arabia.

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.

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.

Read more: World Leaders praise Qatar for dealing with blockade through focusing on economy

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.

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