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Thursday, May 23, 2024

The rise of Tourism Industry in Qatar: Prospects and Challenges

Qatar is expected to welcome a rush of tourists in the next few months. The country is still facing some challenges like conservative outlook. Sporting events can only take you so far, how to counter it?

Qatar is focusing on improving its tourism industry to generate revenue and enhance its political significance by establishing people to people interaction. From an economic standpoint, the tourism sector is offering new avenues to the investors and businesses with a remarkable growth which has reportedly reached 11% as of August. However, Qatar’s image as a conservative Muslim society may have some challenges for the country in its way to becoming an international tourist destination.

HE Akbar al-Baker, secretary-general, Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) and chief executive, Qatar Airways Group, has recently addressed a ceremony on the occasion of World Tourism Day 2019 and invited the business community to explore the tourism sector to earn the profit. “Tourism is one of the most resilient sectors globally growing at a rate of 4%, creating 10% of world jobs and even more in the ancillary sectors. Today, we celebrate World Tourism Day under a theme that truly resonates with our vision for tourism in Qatar: ‘Tourism and Jobs: a better future for all,’ he said.

The secretary also highlighted the significance of the public as well as the private sector to improve the job market by focusing on tourism. “Together with our partners from both the public and private sectors,” he maintained, “we have been constantly been working on implementing policies to develop the tourism ecosystem that helps create new business sustainable growth and job opportunities”.

It is worth noting that growth in the tourism sector increased up to 11% which is an indicator for a better future for the investors and businesses. This figure reflects growth from January to August 31 compared to the same period in 2018.

In a recent report, the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2019 placed Qatar Business Environment at No. 1 in the Middle East and at No. 8 globally.

Mr. al-Baker also explained that the government was focusing on improving the tourism sector through introducing some changes in the development sector which are, he said, to be achieved very soon.

Qatar is all set to organize FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019. This is going to be a huge event that is likely to bring in several big names in the world of football as well as sports enthusiasts from across the world.

To institutionalize tourism market, different steps have already been taken; QNTC has initiated several training and education initiatives such as tour guide programme and the UNWTO/IE University Online Tourism Academy. Mr. al-Baker said that “our partners such as QBIC, QDB, Josoor Institute, Stenden University and HBKU in training professionals and startups in tourism,”.

Efforts to present Qatar as a Tourist Destination

Ooredoo, a Qatar-based international telecommunications company, has recently said that it is the Exclusive Telecommunications Sponsor of a new contest being organized by Qatar Youth Hostels, under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Sports.

According to a statement issued by the company, the contest under the theme of “Lens of Tourism” is being conducted with an aim to raise the country’s profile as a tourist destination.

As per the rules, every entrant must submit a short video – no more than three minutes in length – that highlights Qatar’s touristic, cultural and historical sites, and shows just why Qatar should feature on must-visit lists for tourists.

“All submissions will be shown on large screens on a final judging day, and the winners will then be decided by a panel of judges as well as the board of directors at Qatar Youth Hostels. The first-prize winner will walk away with QR10,000 and filming tools, while the second prize will be QR8,000 plus filming tools. The third-placed entrant will receive QR7,000 as well as filming tools,” it said.

Speaking about the sponsorship, Manar Khalifa al-Muraikhi, director of PR and Corporate Communications at Ooredoo, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting Qatar Youth Hostels and the Ministry of Culture and Sports with this exciting new initiative. Promoting Qatari culture is a key focus of our company strategy, as is supporting our local communities, and this new videography contest is the ideal way for us to provide practical support for our art and culture community, encourage our university students to explore their artistic talents and showcase the many wonderful tourist attractions Qatar – and Qatari culture – has to offer”.

Qatar to Welcome a Rush of Tourists

Some experts believe that Qatar is expected to see a strong rush of tourists in the coming months. The main reason behind this expectation is Qatar’s focus on conducting different sporting events in the country. Some high-profile games are being organized in Qatar in the next few months.

According to local media reports, more than 20 major sports events will be hosted in Qatar in the next four-month time. These events are likely to make the country a must-visit place for every sports lover across the world.

Read more: Qatar: A tourism game changer

Interestingly, Qatar is all set to organize FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019. This is going to be a huge event that is likely to bring in several big names in the world of football as well as sports enthusiasts from across the world. This event has been scheduled from 11 to 21 December this year.

Similarly, another event called IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019 is to be organized in this year. In this international competition, athletes from across the world will take part and contest to win the battle. According to local media, the country is expected to welcome over 3,500 athletes, coaches and other officials. IAAF will kick-off on September 28, and will run until October 6.

However, some experts and commentators believe that Qatar needs to present a soft image before the world in order to become a genuine tourist destination. The cases of lashes and stoning to some foreigners in the modern history of Qatar urge the country to pass some laws to ensure protection to the tourists.