QTA to reverse Qatar leisure to corporate ratio

A host of leisure projects underway to encourage sea change by 2030

H.E Mr. Issa Mohammed Al Mohannadi, chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority.
H.E Mr. Issa Mohammed Al Mohannadi, chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority.

Speaking to Hotelier Middle East, H.E. Mr. Issa Mohammed Al Mohannadi, chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority, has said that the Qatar government is looking to reverse the leisure: MICE ratio in the country from 30: 70 to 64: 36.

The driver for this change will be Qatar’s National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030, which outlines a new positioning of the country as a “world class destination with deep cultural roots”, explained Al Mohannadi.

Up to $45bn will be allocated to develop Qatar’s tourism industry by 2030 with major plans for improving leisure facilities a key focus.

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Earmarked projects include theme parks and the biggest zoo in the region, which is to be integrated with hotels and retail and according to Al Mohannadi will offer visitors the chance to “walk with and do activities with the animals”.

Additionally, Al Mohannadi referred to plans for an aqua park which is to be finalised in the next few months and highlighted the conversion of the existing port to a cruise terminal as a further leisure draw.

The 2030 vision according to Al Mohannadi targets three key markets. He commented: “We are promoting business facilitation; Qatar is building up a lot of infrastructure and we will continue the success of commerce. Secondly we are promoting Qatar as a family oriented destination and the third an authentic experience.”

Commenting on whether demand can be sustained beyond the Fifa World Cup 2022, Al Mohannadi said: “We have a clear road map for the future and we have organic growth, we don’t want to end up with a white elephant beyond that 2022 so we’re clear on what the market will supply.”

Additionally Al Mohannadi asserted that the Qatar Tourism Authority is not trying to filter the types of tourists who will come to be attracted to the country as a result of the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

H.E. commented: “A lot of people associate tourism with bad behaviour and bad things, but it’s not true. You cannot ban 95% of people just because 4 – 5% aren’t aligned with your cultural values so it’s important to look at the positivity that will come out of these tourists as opposed to the small percentage – we’ll have to deal with them as it comes. I don’t think anyone can control who comes into the country.”

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