Infrastructure boom moves Qatar up MICE table

QTA and GIBTM unveil billion-dollar investment into tourism strategy

Qatar has invested $20 billion in transport, venues, hotels and high-profile events.
Qatar has invested $20 billion in transport, venues, hotels and high-profile events.

Qatar has set its sights on becoming a global meetings destination by investing more than US $20 billion in transport, venues, hotels and high-profile events.

These figures were outlined by the organisers of the upcoming Gulf Incentives, Business, Travel and Meetings (GIBTM) conference in Abu Dhabi, which will focus on a market that the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has labelled as "by far the largest piece of the tourism pie".

GIBTM exhibition manager Lois Hall said: "Qatar's position as a convention destination of growing global prowess, is evident having moved up 49 places to reach 111th position in the International Congress and Convention Association's (ICCA) league table of busiest global meetings cities for 2012."

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"A multi-billion dollar investment plan earmarked for tourism-related projects will surely promote Qatar further up the rankings and attract the interest of global meeting planners seeking world-class facilities, such as GIBTM's select group of influential Hosted Buyers from Europe, Asia and The Americas," she added.

According to GIBTM's figures, Qatar is already skewed heavily towards MICE business as the industry contributes almost $13 billion (6.7%) to GDP and accounted for 72% of all visitors to the state in 2011.

Upcoming infrastructure developments are also planning to drive more business visitors to Qatar, include the $15 billion Hamad International Airport, a $25 billion investment in railway construction and a $6 billion allocation to a new Doha port project.

Additionally, the new Doha Exhibition & Convention Centre will provide 29,000 square metres of conference space when it opens in 2014, plus 110 hotels are under construction in Qatar, adding 19,931 rooms to the current 13,407 room inventory.

The upcoming Gulf Incentives, Business, Travel and Meetings (GIBTM) will take place at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC) from March 24-26, 2014.

The event will be followed by a post-show familiarisation trip supported by the QTA, designed to provide GIBTM's buyers with insight into the latest business and meetings facilities offered in Qatar.

By Crystal Chesters

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