Qatar to build on World Cup exposure
At the Skift Global Forum in Dubai, Berthold Trenkel, Qatar Tourism Chief Operating Officer, said that five billion people around the world were exposed to positive news about Qatar during the World Cup, and that the country plans to build on this exposure moving forward.
With the new publicity and infrastructure, the country will be aggressively pushing to take regional market share and get a return on all of the new hotels its built in the last few months. The room inventory in the country has grown from 30,000 keys to 45,000 in January.
“For families, a stopover can also be a great way to break up the tiredness of a long trip and jump into some fun at some of Qatar’s incredible theme parks”
– Berthold Trenkel
Despite falling short of its visitor target of 1.2 million visitors over the period of the World Cup, Trenkel expressed optimism for Qatar’s tourism potential beyond the World Cup. He also discussed plans for repurposing the stadiums built for the World Cup, including converting some into jungle-type biosphere environments.
Qatar is also looking to leverage its Hamad International Airport as an international connection hub to encourage stopover trips and welcomed its first charter flight from Kazakhstan in January in partnership with Kazunion.
“With Hamad International Airport earning the accolade of World’s Best Airport for two consecutive years by Skytrax, we see the stopover programme as an excellent addition to the visitor experience of Qatar and accelerator to visitor growth,” Trenkel says. “There is still so much untapped potential when it comes to trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights. For many international travels, a stopover could be a great way to get a flavour of not just Qatar, but of the region overall, allowing them to experience authentic Arabian hospitality.”
“For families, a stopover can also be a great way to break up the tiredness of a long trip and jump into some fun at some of Qatar’s incredible theme parks, such as Desert Falls & Adventure Park with its water rides fit for every age, or Doha Quest, which has the world’s tallest indoor rollercoaster and drop tower,” Trenkel adds.
Qatar Tourism has identified six demand spaces in line with Vision 2030: Sun, Sea and Sand; Active Holidays; Relax & Rejuvenate; Cultural Enthusiasts; Luxury City Breaks and Romantic Getaways.
The Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism declared Doha as the “Arab Tourism Capital” for 2023, in its 25th session at the Arab League General Secretariat Headquarters in Cairo, Egypt. Cities were evaluated based on a selection of criteria including tourism management, infrastructure and resources, safety and security, diversity of tourism activations, and preservation and protection of the environment.
Active holidays is also an ideal space that Qatar’s tourism sector can occupy, and we have identified this in our strategy, says Trenkel. On the back of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, sports will certainly continue to be a focus, exemplified by the recent signing of Qatar into the F1 calendar for the next 10 years.
Trenkel tells TTN, We have identified 15 priority markets and have identified which have potential for point-to-point travel and which are more suited for stopover travel. Along with an expanding network of international offices, our strategy will see us grow the tourism sector, culminating in a tripling of our current visitor numbers to six million visitors a year by 2030.”
AGENT ALERT: QATAR SPECIALIST PROGRAMME
The Qatar Specialist Programme is an online platform outlining Qatar’s diverse tourism offerings. The programme uses the latest technologies to provide a highly interactive and flexible training platform, helping agents become experts on the range of experiences available.
Because of the country’s rapid pace of development, the programme is also beneficial to regional agents, those who have already been working with Qatar Tourism or feel they understand the destination well.
International agents who complete the full course will receive exclusive Qatar Specialist benefits including the ability to promote themselves using the programme’s certification and logo. They will also qualify for visits via Qatar Tourism’s familiarization trips, receive exclusive updates on new products and events, and have the opportunity to participate in competitions to win prizes including trips to Qatar. To ensure that partners are up to date with all the latest information, the certification is valid for a year and a refresher course will need to be taken annually thereafter.