onvention Centre (QNCC) aims to host as many international events as possible, along with regional and local events as well.
The QNCC, one of the largest of its kind in the Middle East, is slated for opening in the second quarter of 2011 in Qatar Foundation’s Education City.
“In the international arena there are probably only about 300 major events that travel the world and to get those is almost like bidding for the Olympic games. You sometimes have to bid between four and eight years ahead,” QNCC general manager Paul D’Arcy (pictured below) told Gulf Times.
Giving an indication of how early preparations have to begin to host potential events, the general manager disclosed that QNCC has got an expression of interest for a major medical conference for 2019.
The goal is to start small, may be with four big events in the first year, as most of these are association events, with the charter stipulating that they have to rotate between different continents.
So in some years there could be 20 events which can have a potential for this region, while other years it might only be five.
“We would hope that once we get to a stable year, which is year four or five, we would be averaging 10 to 12 events a year, which is very good, as there are very few international convention and exhibition centres that do better,” the general manager observed.
D’Arcy asserted that QNCC could bring lot of economic benefit to the country as business tourists who come for conventions, exhibitions, and meetings tend to spend about six times as much as leisure tourists.
“Further, exhibitions not only generate interest in products, they boost the industries which it is linked to, for example a boat show will boost the boating industry in the country, or a jewellery fair will boost the jewellery market,” he said.
Asked about the prospects of QNCC given the current global economic scenario, D’Arcy said it is a great time to be building, not to be operating.
“By the time we open in 2011, I am very hopeful the economy will be on the mend. Qatar has been largely, not immune, certainly sheltered from the crisis, because of its wise fiscal policies,” he added.
Further, the QNCC will look at year-round activity, irrespective of the weather, as it will have a totally air-conditioned indoor facility. The 3,400-vehicle, five-level automated car park (with signage indicating free spaces) will be connected to the convention centre through a 250m long air-conditioned tunnel with travelators.
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