On this day last year, H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior launched the Next Chapter of the National Tourism Sector Strategy, which aims to enhance the end-to-end visitor experience in Qatar.
Hassan Al Ibrahim, Acting Chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) commented, "Qatar's tourism sector is going through an exceptional period of transformation and growth and what we are able to achieve is possible thanks to the collaboration of our public and private sector partners." He added, "As the country gears up to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022, there is a strong spotlight on our country and our tourism capabilities. We would like to take this opportunity to invite the nation's youth, entrepreneurs and investors to be part of this exciting phase in the sector's development journey."
This year's World Tourism Day celebrations are being held under the theme 'Tourism & Digital Transformation'.
Al-Ibrahim continued, "Indeed it has been a transformative year as we have reaped the first fruits of our sector's digitisation efforts. Our e-licensing system has been instrumental in streamlining the start-up and license renewal processes for our sector partners. And, our push for digitising our destination marketing campaigns with online platforms such as China's Sina Weibo and WeChat have demonstrated our destination's agility in responding to our different priority market preferences." He added, "We are also seeing mobile apps regularly feature as part of our public engagement tools for new festivals and tourism events."
The United Nations World Tourism Authority (UNWTO) openness rankings released last month placed Qatar as the 8th most open country in the world and the most open in the Middle East.
"Openness and ease of access are crucial elements of the visitor experience. This achievement follows on a series of initiatives we have taken in that regard: In 2017, we saw the launch of the Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA); a 96-hour transit visa; an online platform for processing visa applications and issuing e-visas as well as a visa waiver for nationals of more than 80 countries."
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