Qatar's tourism industry grew by 13% in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. Qatar's tourism industry grew by 13% in the first quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) have signed a 17-month agreement with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to assist in developing the necessary policies, regulations and strategies to develop the Gulf country’s new tourism strategy.

The initial phase will cover five major areas of tourist activities including desert safaris and camps; tour guides; tourism investment, event management companies; retail, wholesale, DMC and both inbound and outbound travel agencies and theme/ amusement parks. Phase two of the partnership will cover destination marketing themes, hotel energy systems and related sustainability areas.

Commenting on the initiative, Qatar Tourism Authority chairman H.E. Eng Mr. Issa Bin Mohammed Al-Mohannadi said: “QTA has been hard at work creating an ambitious strategy to solidify Qatar’s position as a leading tourist destination and enhancing the quality and standards of international tourism for the nation. However, we are conscious of the importance of environmental sustainability for tourism development and as the regulator of industry standards and codes, we are taking the lead in ensuring sustainable growth and development of Qatar’s fast-growing tourism sector.”

Qatar's tourism industry grew by 13% in the first quarter of 2013 as compared to 2012, which according to the QTA has been fuelled by the recent hotel boom in the country with 110 hotels under construction last year offering a potential 19,931 extra rooms to visitors. Last year, hotels in Qatar had a total capacity of 13,407 rooms. “It is not only the number of rooms that is important, but also the quality, eco-sustainability and the diversity of choices across all grades and price levels,” Mr. Al-Mohannadi said.

The agreement will see UNWTO update and create a monitoring and quality control system across the wide range of tourism activities in the country, while ensuring the development of a well-planned, high quality and reliable tourism industry in the build-up towards Qatar hosting the World Cup in 2022.

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UNWTO secretary-general Taleb Rifai welcomed the agreement as “an important step forward in developing Qatar’s tourism policies, legislative framework and institutional capacities. This agreement reflects the strategic priority afforded by the Government of Qatar to tourism as a driver of socio-economic development.”

While Qatar has made strong headway and is firmly establishing itself as a prominent destination on the region’s tourism map, the activities contemplated in the agreement will translate into more competitive and varied tourism products and services and strengthen the sector’s sustainability, by enhancing its contribution to the human, social, economic and environmental development of Qatar,” added Rifai.