*Qatar Summer Festival to kick off on first day of Eid al-Fitr
The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has launched a programme to develop key destinations within Qatar to enhance visitor experience, starting with Bin Ghannam Island, which is being developed in partnership with Ashghal, a senior official has said.
"We've also started working on the development of Khor Al Adaid and Sealine in collaboration with various stakeholders,” QTA Acting Chairman Hassan al-Ibrahim said.
Addressing QTA's fifth Annual Tourism Industry Ramadan Ghabga, he said: "And, to further ease business procedures for our private sector partners, we have launched another phase of the e-licensing system, which caters to tourism establishments and business events' organisers."
Talking about the authority’s future plans, he said: "We are currently anticipating the decision to establish the National Tourism Council, which will be followed by a transformation of the sector's governance, to ensure greater transparency, efficiency and participation of the private sector. This transition will not affect our day-to-day functions, our events, or our attention to your requirements.”
He said the Qatar Summer Festival will kick off on the first day of Eid al-Fitr.
Al-Ibrahim said although a year has passed since the beginning of the unjust siege imposed on Qatar, QTA has managed to turn the challenge into a great catalyst for development and growth.
"In co-operation with its partners from the public and private sectors, QTA organised several exhibitions, festivals and tourist events," he said, adding "the tourism industry has grown, and with it the number of stakeholders".
"Since we met last Ramadan, a new chapter of the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy was launched by HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani, charting the pathway of development for the sector for the next five years, with a focus on enhancing the end-to-end visitor experience and carving a bigger role for the private sector.
QTA, he said, began implementing this strategy right away, and within a short space of time, Qatar has become the most open country in the region, following a string of visa facilitation policies. Meanwhile, Qatar's hospitality sector has risen to top the Middle East, according to Olery's Guest Experience Report.
"We have also opened representative offices in the three largest visitor source markets in the world - China, Russia and India. The promotional efforts in these markets have been accompanied by a promising increase in visitor arrivals, with the number of Russian visitors increasing by 441%, Chinese visitors increasing by 27% and Indian visitors by 15% in the first quarter of 2018."
Al-Ibrahim added QTA recently celebrated the successful conclusion of another cruise season, which saw the number of cruise visitors grow by 39%, "with our projections showing we will be receiving 500,000 visitors by 2026".
The acting chairman said: "In spite of all we have achieved, we are still at the beginning of a long journey towards our 2023 goals," adding that efforts are ongoing.
"All of this success, and the positive outlook we have fostered for the future, is a direct result of our fruitful collaboration and joint efforts. We have borne the responsibility of the challenges of the past year together, and emerged successful and ready for more prosperity."
The Annual Tourism Industry Ghabga is one of many platforms for the members of the tourism sector to connect, exchange ideas and find new and innovative ways to develop the sector through partnerships.