Despite the current economic crisis and its subsequent effect on the travel and tourism industry, Qatar continues to receive more travellers each year as a result of thoughtful exposure, and its “very rounded tourism strategy”, according to officials.
Soha Moussa, head of promotions and organising abroad exhibitions at Qatar Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (QTEA), explained that the Qatari involvement in this year’s event would help them towards achieving their goal of a 20% rise in visitors by 2012.
Moussa was speaking at a press conference on the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) which is set to be hosted in Dubai from May 5-8, and will feature exhibitors from around the region and the world.
She explained that the Qatari government’s plans had already helped to improve tourism, with the number of visitors increasing from some 400,000 in 2004 to over a million last year.
The government has announced an investment of some $17bn to improve the country’s tourism infrastructure over the next five years.
QTEA will lead a delegation of some 14 exhibitors, and Qatar Airways will also have a booth at the Dubai event. Reflecting the requirement for more hotel rooms to cater for demand, there is expected to be a 400% increase to 29,000 rooms by 2012, and many hotels will attend the ATM.
Mark Walsh, group exhibitions director from Reeds Exhibition, explained that although the rest of the region was suffering because of the current economic situation, the Middle East was still the most successful region in the world, and Qatar had emerged as the strongest.
“By targeting a broad spectrum of inbound visitors, from short-stay leisure, business and MICE travellers, to longer stay cultural guests and sports fans, QTEA is seeing increased tourism investment in the country’s dynamic economy which is realising its tourism objectives.”
He explained that although the tourism sector had been hit by the global financial crisis, the ATM was still a very necessary event, and in the current climate, the forum for businesses to meet, network and discuss their problems was “more important than ever.”
Sarah Kitley from the ATM marketing team, also stressed the importance of the Dubai show as an educational event, describing a number of new initiatives which have the potential to assist businesses find solutions to current problems.
With its increasing market proposition and tourism potential, we firmly believe that Qatar will be a must-see destination for visitors to the ATM in 2009,” added Walsh.
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