Qatar’s tourism growth sees an upward curve

Published on : Tuesday, March 7, 2017

qatar tourism authorityAt this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM), experiential travel, the main theme of this event this year, is driving tourism growth in Qatar, as the country aims to welcome 10 million visitors a year by 2030. As per research release before ATM 2017, which takes place at the Dubai World Trade Center from April 24-27, Qatar will aim to produce 5.2% of its GDP through tourism over the coming years, creating nearly 98,000 jobs and managing an inventory of 63,000 hotel rooms.

A perfect example of experiential travel is Souq Waqif in Doha, which offers several small shops lined along paths with an array of Middle Eastern merchandise, from spices and seasonal delicacies to perfumes, jewellery, clothing and handicrafts. Qatar’s culture and heritage is of supreme importance, and it aims to invest around $45bn in new developments under the National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030.

These include $2.3bn earmarked for 2022 World Cup facilities and $6.9bn for transport infrastructure and associated projects. To quote Simon Press, Senior Exhibition director (ATM), “Qatar’s well-paced National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 will steadily boost tourism numbers over the coming decade, with the first milestone of four million visitors a year by 2020, well on track. The government, hotel operators, airlines, and other stakeholders, are now beginning to see a return on their investment into the country’s tourism sector. Once again we see the leisure industry driving growth in another major GCC destination and this is a trend we expect to continue at least until the end of the decade.”

The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) predicts that the tourism sector’s total economic contribution will reach QR81.2bn (7.3% of GDP) by 2026. As per QTA data, Qatar is already the fastest growing destination in the region in terms of visitor arrivals, averaging 11.5% growth over the past five years. The first nine months of 2016 recorded arrivals of 2.18mn visitors. Doha’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) saw passenger traffic jump 20% in 2016.


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