Leading figures of Qatar’s business community called on young entrepreneurs to tap into the growing potential of the country’s burgeoning tourism industry, during the recently hosted QBIC Tourism Speaker Series.
The event, hosted by Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC), in partnership with Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), featured Ashraf Abu Issa, Chairman & CEO of Abu Issa Holding, Walid Al Jaouni, Founder & Chairman of Qatar International Adventures and Dr. Jamal Rashid Al Khanji, Founder of International Spearfishing Academy. The panel was moderated by Mohamed Al Mahmeed, Head of Tourism Investment Promotion at Qatar Tourism Authority.
The event highlighted a number of important themes in tourism investment, encouraging entrepreneurs to find a unique local proposition and recognize the value of local natural and cultural assets. Panelists emphasized the critical steps taken by Qatar over the past two years to lay the foundation for the tourism sector, including key policy changes such as the introduction of a new, free 96-hour transit visa.
With plenty of greenfields opportunity ahead, panelists encouraged emerging entrepreneurs to be brave, to invest, and to grow together for the future of Qatar.
Qatar is one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the world, and the only country in the Middle East to achieve consistent growth in tourism arrivals over 2005-2015 according to the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO). In recognition of the imporatance of the tourism sector, Qatar’s leadership has designated tourism a priority sector in the nation’s efforts to diversify its economy in pursuit of Qatar National Vision 2030.
Commenting on the session, Qatar Development Bank CEO and QBIC Chairman, Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al Khalifa said: “Qatar Development Bank is proud of the ongoing success that the Speaker Series is achieving. Sharing success stories and the challenges that entrepreneurs faced is key to knowledge transfer. Tourism is certainly one of the most important sectors where QDB is making huge efforts to support entrepreneurs so that they can play a pivotal role.”
An initiative supporting QBIC’s mission to develop the next QAR 100 million companies in Qatar, the Speaker Series is a seasonal program that brings together startups, regional experts, and successful entrepreneurs in a dialogue to encourage investment, growth, and an entrepreneurial mindset, with a focus on practical challenges and opportunities in the market.
During the session, the speakers shed light on the characteristics of a tourism business, the importance of the role that the private sector plays in enhancing the tourism sector through their innovative creativity and investments, the various challenges behind building a business and the products that Qatar needs in the thriving sector, among other topics.
Aysha Al Mudahka, QBIC CEO said: “QBIC was thrilled to host the second edition of the speaker series on tourism. Entrepreneurship is an exciting yet challenging line of business, QBIC is dedicated to nurture its incubates through providing them with the best support and training on a local and international basis. We believe in the importance of investing in the tourism sector; moreover, it is through empowering our innovative young-minds that we are able to see valuable progress in this domain. We thank Qatar Tourism Authority for its tremendous support in our tourism initiatives and we will continue to host several distinguished speakers to further elevate the talent of our incubates.”
The Speaker Series sessions bridge the gap between budding entrepreneurs, and successful professionals. The speakers are selected on the basis of their achievements as entrepreneurs, and are invited to share their experience and knowledge on overcoming the barriers to successful entrepreneurship.
Mohamed Al Mahmeed, Head of Tourism Investment Promotion at Qatar Tourism Authority concluded: “QTA’s support of QBIC Tourism is based on our belief that the involvement of homegrown talent in developing Qatar’s tourism sector is crucial to ensuring that visitor experiences are embedded in, and reflective of, the country’s national culture and heritage. The Speaker Series provides an invaluable opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs to hear directly from business leaders about their journey to success, hopefully inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs to enter the tourism sector.”
Over the past year, QBIC has hosted several sessions including high-profile professionals and entrepreneurs such as Louis Foremen, founder of Edison Nation, Elmar Mock, co-inventor of SWATCH, Dr. Kai Ruggeri, Researcher and Lecturer at University of Cambridge, Mohammed Jaffar, former CEO of Talabat.com, Rabea Ataya, founder and CEO of Bayt.com, and Christopher Free, General Manager of UBER Qatar and UAE.
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