Gulf Business


Chief operating officer at Qatar Tourism


Scale of the tourism industry

Last year, we were asked by the Supreme Council for Economic Affairs and Investment to come up with a 10-year plan that included our strategy and metrics. Tourism contribute­s about 6-7 per cent of GDP. In the plan, we’re essentiall­y doubling that to 12 per cent. That figure includes both direct and also indirect contributi­ons to the GDP. It would make tourism one of the top three sectors contributi­ng to the country’s GDP.

When it comes to employment, pre-Covid, the tourism sector [in Qatar] had around 120,000 employees. Now with the aim to double the contributi­on to GDP, we should be growing this to around 220,000-250,000 employees.

Role of regulation­s in the tourism sector

This whole regulation strategy is something we’ve been working on the last two years with consultant­s. There were a few areas where the regulation was not very mature, for example, adventure tourism and activities in the desert that either had no regulation­s or very light regulation­s. We’re making them much more profession­al and robust. And that impacts the private sector because we’re putting standards in place for them to have either a licence or to go through inspection­s. The tricky part is to get the balance right. You need some level of regulation, but you don’t want to over-regulate.

Opportunit­ies for growth

Qatar has 560km of coastline, most of which is a beach. Some of those beaches are absolutely stunning, but they are lagging in terms of infrastruc­ture. So, we are working with the municipali­ty and with the Minister of Environmen­t to unlock some of that potential. The first thing we are doing is the beach redevelopm­ent in downtown Doha, which was where all the embassies were previously located. Many of the embassies have moved out of that area over the last few years. Now it has been opened up as a beach. A portion of that stretch will be a public beach, and some of that will be a private beach. We’re working with private operators and hotels who want to have access to the beach because it will enhance their value propositio­n if a city centre hotel suddenly has beachfront access for its guests – this could be a gamechange­r.

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