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Posted On: 22 August 2021 04:14 pm

A conversation with Ekaterina Shcherbatenko, Managing Director of Qatar-Russia Experience

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A conversation with Ekaterina Shcherbatenko, Managing Director of Qatar-Russia Experience.

Qatar-Russia Experience (QRE) is operating and promoting in the experience, events and business tourism industry for Qatari and Russian clients under the auspices and in the framework of the Qatari-Russian Center for Cooperation. Their expertise in Qatar is not a coincidence, but a result of a multi-year collaboration with the country.

ILQ: The number of tourists from Qatar to Russia has increased markedly. Can we expect that the positive dynamics will be sustainable?

Ekaterina: "QR Experience’s team is engaged in individual travels and package offers within the B2C tourism industry. Individual tourists from Qatar began to actively visit Russia more recently especially given the new visa-free directives from both governments. This has been made even easier with direct regular flights between Doha and Moscow, which were resumed in March 2021, as well as direct flights to St. Petersburg, which restarted in July. In May alone, almost 400 Qatari tourists visited the country (the same as in the whole of 2015), and we expect at least 3,000 people by the end of 2021."

"The main cities of interest for Qatari tourists are Moscow and St. Petersburg. It makes sense; these cities are ready to receive Middle Eastern tourists. Guests from Qatar can experience ultimate comfort with direct flights, world class hospitality, luxury infrastructure, service in hotels and many Halal friendly restaurants, as well as a well-developed market for splendor and status shopping. Additionally, we have recently launched a special VIP-welcome loyalty program together with the largest outlets in Moscow and St. Petersburg. This program provides a number of luxurious amenities for our guests, such as shopping delivery to the hotel or the services of a renowned stylist consultant etc. The assortment of outlets includes not only well-known world brands, but also a large selection of products from Russian designers and jewelers."

"We still see ample opportunities for our collaboration with the Qatari market which is super exciting for us at QRE as these opportunities are spurred by the burgeoning relations with the leading players of the travel industry of Qatar such as the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC), which constantly monitors the drivers of interest for Qatari tourists. This las led us to offer unique journeys and trips catering to Qatari tourists looking for unique experiences such as the trip from Vladivostok to Kaliningrad, which spans a massive distance of 7,359 km and takes 11 hours to cross while flying)."

"Ever since QR Experience been established, we have been working very closely with a number of stakeholders in Qatar for dozens of business trips and throughout hundreds of collaborations, engagements and agreements, we have developed the utmost levels of appreciation and admiration towards this warm and hospitable country and we love it wholeheartedly. Currently, our top priority at QR Experience is to acquaint the people of Qatar with the largest country in the world, Russia: amazing, incredibly beautiful, unique and with a rich cultural and natural heritage, a frenetic pulse of its mega-cities, hospitality and tranquility of the province."

EKATERINA SHCHERBATENKO, Managing Director Qatar-Russia Experience
EKATERINA SHCHERBATENKO, Managing Director Qatar-Russia Experience

ILQ: What are some other projects QR Experience has been involved with?

Ekaterina: "In terms of B2B, QR Experience promotes products targeting the corporate and public sector of both countries, runs conferences, roadshows and hosts official delegations both in Russia and in Qatar. For example, we have organized the Qatar-Russia Matchmaking 2021 even in Moscow, for the Qatar Development Bank ahead of SPIEF which served as an incredible platform for the development of business tourism. The matchmaking even gave Qatari exporters insight into the Russian market and an opportunity to set up business relations with Russian manufacturers and business stakeholders in the relevant sectors of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)."

"Furthermore, QR Experience successfully held the Qatari Days, also on the sidelines of SPIEF, in the famous department store of St. Petersburg "Au Pont Rouge,” where we have introduced the residents and guests of the city to the products of famous manufacturers of cosmetics, designer clothing, dates and perfumes from Qatar."

"In 2022, Qatar expects a massive influx of tourists to the FIFA World Cup. QR Experience, together with QR Sports – our sports marketing agency, are actively working towards future opportunities. Sports organizations of both nations, in the context of B2B cooperation, continue to forge mutual relations in the run-up to the World Cup. Ten cooperation agreements have already been concluded with the sports infrastructure institutions in Qatar before and during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum which has held back in June 2021. To name some of these agreements: an agreement between the Volleyball Federation of Russia and the Qatar Volleyball Association, an MoU between the one of the world's leading sports entities, Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) and InStat (a statistical analysis company in sports), and also between AZF and the Russian ESforce Holding. We hope that these agreements will particularly increase engagement not only between sports associations, but also in the fields of sports education and sports medicine."

"At QR Experience, we have been entrusted to drive multi-layered projects from the very onset of our inception. Our clientele includes top public and private sector officials and representatives, alongside owners and shareholders of some of the leading companies in Qatar. We have firmly occupied the niche of business and event tourism between Russia and Qatar with over 20 business trips and delegations around the country for representatives of Qatar, and more than 70 working meetings for Russian businesses. Out commitment, efforts and customers’ trust saw QR Experience supportingthe organization of the State of Qatar’s participation as the Guest Country as SPIEF 2021, where we have welcomed 500 delegates hailing from Qatar’s leading authorities and institutions"

"Our aim, as QR Experience, is to introduce and help you explore the beautiful country of Russia through truly memorable journeys and we look forward to welcoming tourists from Qatar to our wonderful nation."

Source: Press Release