Qatar’s Ambassador to Germany, His Excellency Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, opened today (Wednesday) Qatar’s pavilion at the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) Berlin.
A strong delegation comprising 20 of Qatar’s leading hotels, destination management companies and other tourism establishments is joining Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) at this year’s edition of ITB. In a major drive to reinforce Qatar’s growing reputation as a destination for European travellers, Qatar’s pavilion will showcase the country’s expanding tourism and hospitality options at one of Europe’s biggest travel show, which continues until 12 March 2017.
Commenting on the opening, His Excellency Sheikh Saoud bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said, “Qatar-German relations are based on a strong partnership and mutual respect of our respective cultures. We have witnessed a growing interest in Qatar from various industries, particularly in the travel sector, as Qatar features unique cultural landmarks, global sporting events, and boasts exceptional hospitality and leisure assets. This growing awareness is thanks to the efforts of representatives from the culture and tourism sectors in Qatar. I am confident that the robust representation at this year’s ITB Berlin, which comes with the advent of the Qatar-Germany 2017 Year of Culture, will solidify ties between the German travel industry and Qatar’s tourism and hospitality establishments, contributing to even greater interest from this market in visiting our country.”
Leading international and local hotel brands exhibiting their Qatar properties include, Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Centre, The St. Regis Doha, Four Seasons Hotel Doha, The Torch Doha, W Doha Hotel & Residence, Century Hotel, Intercontinental Doha and Holiday Villa Hotel.
Qatar’s growing travel and destination management industry is also represented with the participation of Arab Destination of Tourism, Arabian Adventure, Gulf Adventure, Qatar International Adventures, Regency Travel & Tours, Sand Dunes Holidays and Travel Designer.
According to Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA, the growing participating of the private sector in this year’s bourse is particularly significant in light of His Excellency the Prime Minister’s directive to review the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy in partnership with the private sector.
“QTA has identified German-speaking Europe as a prime growth market and we are looking forward to sharing updates with travel trade about the recent changes to Qatar’s visa policy, specifically the introduction of a new, free 96-hour transit visa. Collectively, the Qatar delegation at ITB Berlin will provide trade visitors with a comprehensive insight into Qatar as a destination for visitors seeking authentic cultural experiences. The wide range of hotels and other tourism suppliers joining us at the Qatar pavilion provides German-speaking trade with an effective ‘one-stop shop’ for conducting business with our tourism sector.”
He added, “Attended by some 150,000 trade visitors, ITB Berlin plays an important role in our strategy to promote Qatar as a destination to European travel trade. We hope to emulate last year’s edition, when our delegation held a total of 920 business meetings during the course of the exhibition, an excellent indication of the interest in Qatar.”
Beyond the annual tourism bourse, QTA’s representative office in Germany ensures Qatar has permanent representation on the ground in the German-speaking markets. It plays an active role in maintaining a high profile for Qatar among travel trade and media partners throughout Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
In 2016, the office provided workshops on Qatar’s tourism offering to 717 travel agents at various roadshows and events. The number of travel professionals from German-speaking countries who have registered in QTA’s ‘Tawash’ online training programme increased to more than 900, with 407 professionals graduating to become authoritative and enthusiastic ‘tourism ambassadors,’ promoting Qatar as a destination in their respective home markets.
Also in 2016, QTA’s German office partnered with seven tour operators, bringing the number of operators selling Qatar vacation packages to 33, alongside 44 websites. Eighty-seven members of the German travel trade industry were hosted by QTA in Qatar for familiarisation visits, in addition to 29 German journalists.
During 2017, QTA plans to build on last year’s progress and further expand its network of partner tour operators. Qatar will be the host country at this year’s ‘Arabian Souk’ in Zurich, Switzerland's biggest Arabian trade event involving some 200 travel agents, and the destination will be promoted at other major fairs, such as Ferienmesse in Vienna, CMT in Stuttgart, Fespo in Zurich and Free in Munich.
QTA will also be increasing the number of trade and media delegates travelling to Qatar to experience its tourist attractions first-hand, while continuing to target business events travellers and event planners at the specialist IMEX Frankfurt trade fair.
In addition to leisure and business travelers, Qatar is also attracting a growing number of German and German-speaking cruise passengers. In 2016, QTA signed an agreement with TUI Cruises through which the German cruise liner will be including Qatar in its itineraries for the 2017/18 season, bringing seven cruise ships with up to 17,500 visitors to Qatar.
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