DE­VEL­OP­ING AN ECOSYS­TEM FOR TOURISM

Qatar Today - - DEVELOPMENT -

As the in­hab­i­tants of the Mid­dle East’s emerg­ing tourist des­ti­na­tion, we con­front a new and ex­cit­ing, if chal­leng­ing, op­por­tu­nity: to de­fine what Qatar’s fast-grow­ing tourism in­dus­try should look like and ac­tively guide its de­vel­op­ment to­wards the fu­ture we want. The best, and – in my opin­ion, as a busi­ness­man – the only way of do­ing this is to seize the re­spon­si­bil­ity for cre­at­ing and grow­ing Qatar’s tourism com­pa­nies, so that we, our­selves, pro­vide the prod­ucts and ser­vices we want to see as a sin­cere re­flec­tion of our own cul­ture.

Ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions World Tourism Or­ga­ni­za­tion (UNWTO), for over a decade Qatar has been the only coun­try in the Mid­dle East re­gion that has main­tained con­sis­tent growth in tourist ar­rivals. In­deed, growth in vis­i­tor ar­rivals to Qatar more than dou­bled be­tween 2008 and 2015, ris­ing from 1.38 mil­lion to 2.93 mil­lion vis­i­tors. Pro­ject­ing ahead, fig­ures from Qatar Tourism Au­thor­ity (QTA) sug­gest that tourist ar­rivals in 2030

LO­CAL BUSI­NESS­MAN ASHRAF ABU ISSA SHARES HIS IN­SIGHT ON QATAR’S BRIGHT, YOUNG TOURISM SEC­TOR AND ITS NEED FOR STRATE­GIC SUP­PORT AND EX­PE­RI­ENCE.

could reach seven mil­lion vis­i­tors per year. QTA also projects that tourism could con­trib­ute a to­tal (i.e, di­rect, in­di­rect and in­duced) im­pact of 5.2% of Qatar’s to­tal GDP by 2030 – the equiv­a­lent of 9.7% of the non-hy­dro­car­bon econ­omy. This will con­trib­ute sig­nif­i­cantly to Qatar’s de­sired goal of a di­ver­si­fied econ­omy, and tourism en­joys na­tional sup­port as such.

There is no doubt that it is our na­ture and cul­ture as Qataris to be hos­pitable to the end, and we will al­ways ex­tend a warm wel­come to vis­i­tors; how­ever, we find our­selves at an im­por­tant junc­ture in time. With seven mil­lion peo­ple set to visit Doha an­nu­ally, there is clearly enor­mous scope to de­velop a wide range of tourist of­fer­ings that at­tract tourists and en­tice them to come back for re­peated vis­its. Un­doubt­edly, many of these of­fer­ings will be sim­i­lar to what is al­ready of­fered in other coun­tries. Nev­er­the­less, there will also be a de­mand for au­then­tic and unique Qatari ex­pe­ri­ences.

It is not just a mat­ter of build­ing more ho­tel rooms: Qatar presently of­fers over

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