Over twenty members of the tourism and hospitality sector are officially ready to welcome Chinese guests and tour groups, after being recognised by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
The industry members were feted at a ceremony organised by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and attended by His Excellency Mr. Li Chen, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Qatar.
The honorees include six Destination Management Companies (DMCs), who have met the requirements to become designated by QTA as approved tour operators for hosting Chinese tour groups. These companies are now confirmed with the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism and are ready to meet the needs of Chinese travel agencies looking to organise group holidays in Qatar, as well as independent Chinese travellers, starting in May.
In addition, 15 hotels have received the Welcome Chinese Certification, which is recognised by the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the China Tourism Academy (CTA), through its exclusive global distribution partner, Select Holding.
The certification acknowledges that the hotels have the amenities to better host and welcome Chinese guests, such as acceptance of China Union Pay cards, access to CCTV channels and newspapers, hot water kettles and Chinese tea in guest rooms, and free WiFi connections. Gold-level certified hotels provide additional services including Chinese-speaking staff, special welcome packages, discounts for Chinese guests, and a Chinese breakfast option.
Rashed AlQurese, Chief Marketing and Promotion Officer at QTA commented, “We have been working closely with our partners in the tourism industry to offer our renowned hospitality to Chinese guests, and allow Chinese visitors to discover our cultural heritage and natural treasures with ease and comfort.” He added, “As we continue to promote Qatar as a tourism destination in China We look forward to seeing more sector partners receive their certification and ensuring they are well-positioned for the Chinese market.”
Qatar was granted Approved Destination Status (ADS) by what is now the Ministry of Culture and Tourism (previously the China National Tourism Administration) in September 2017, allowing it to receive tourist groups from China and to promote Qatar as a tourism destination within China.
“Securing Approved Destination Status for Qatar as a destination brings new opportunities for both China and Qatar to expand tourism exchanges, strengthen people-to-people and cultural exchange, and deepen practical cooperation,” commented Mr. Yang Song, Head of the Economic and Commercial Counselor’s Office at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China. “Now, more and more Chinese visitors choose to stop over in Doha to experience the unique Islamic architecture, Qatari and Arabian culture as well as hospitality and friendliness of local people. This November, China's first-ever International Import Expo will take place in Shanghai, which represents China's sincere wish to further open up its huge domestic market to the world. We welcome the China-ready hotels and DMCs in Qatar to participate in the Expo, and tap into the world's largest outbound tourism market.”
Jacopo Sertoli, CEO of Select Holding, affirmed, “The Welcome Chinese Certification helps tourism businesses bridge the gap between the increasing demand from Chinese travelers and the requirement for tourism services that cater to their needs. We have been delighted with the response from Qatari tourism establishments, and see this ceremony as an important success and significant step forward in our collaboration with QTA. We hope to see more members of the industry take advantage of this unique opportunity, which helps them develop as businesses as well as gain exposure in the Chinese tourism market.”
After Qatar gained ADS last year, QTA opened representative offices in Beijing, Guangzhou and Shanghai. Thanks to promotional efforts spearheaded by the offices, as well as visa-free entry for Chinese citizens, which was introduced in August, supplemented by daily Qatar Airways flights to 6 destinations in mainland China, Qatar has already significantly increased its share of Chinese tourists.
The first quarter of 2018 saw a 27% increase in Chinese visitor arrivals compared to the same period last year. Data analysis also shows that China is Qatar’s fastest growing source market.
The Qatar tourism sector’s China-readiness allows it tap into the world’s largest tourism export market. In 2016, 135 million Chinese citizens are recorded to have travelled abroad spending $261 billion.
All images courtesy of QTA
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