QTA to refresh national tourism strategy by Q3 2017
QTA is set to launch a refreshed QNTSS 2030 by September 2017
Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is eyeing 27 September 2017, which coincides with World Tourism Day, as the launch date of a refreshed Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy (QNTSS) 2030, QTA officials have announced in a statement. QTA has begun the process of reviewing the tourism sector strategy in partnership with stakeholders and partners from the public and private sectors.“With changes to the economic reality, both locally and internationally, Qatar’s leadership has taken new steps to stimulate the private sector’s involvement in developing key sectors of the economy. At the same time, the tourism industry in Qatar has grown and changed drastically from what it was in 2014. As we move ahead on the path of development, it is critical that we take all of these factors into account and make any changes necessary to our approach – as an organisation and as a nation – to building the tourism industry," said QTA chief tourism development officer Hassan Al Ibrahim.
“By September, we plan to complete a thorough and inclusive consultation and review process, to ensure that the tourism industry is on the right track to fulfill its role in the realisation of Qatar National Vision 2030, reflecting the needs of Qatar and its people,” added Al Ibrahim.
The process involves an extensive series of one-on-one meetings with key policy and decision-makers and cross-sectoral stakeholder forums, the first of which is beginning today, 15 May until tomorrow, 16 May. Members of the public will also be invited to share their input through a series of surveys.
The announcement comes after Qatar’s prime minister and minister of interior, His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, issued a directive for QTA to review the QNTSS 2030, in partnership with the private sector and relevant government entities.
World Tourism Day, due to be hosted in Qatar, will witness a series of events celebrating tourism’s economic, social and cultural role under the theme ‘Sustainable Tourism – a Tool for Development.’
QNTSS 2030 was launched in February 2014 with the aim of developing a sustainable tourism sector that celebrates Qatar’s cultural and natural attractions, and help diversify the country’s economy. The strategy promotes tourism development leveraging on Qatar’s assets in four key areas: business events, culture and heritage, sports and recreation, and urban and family entertainment.
Since the strategy was established, Qatar has welcomed over 9 million visitors, and tourism’s total impact on the economy has increased to 4.3% of the total GDP, and 8.8% of the non-oil GDP. A new hotel grading and classification system was launched in 2016. An electronic licensing system to streamline the establishment of tourism businesses is due to be launched later this year.
New sub-sectors have emerged as significant contributors to the tourism industry, such as cruise tourism, and tourism events and festivals. On the cruise front, the number of port calls tripled during the recently-concluded season, bringing over 47,000 visitors to the country, with the number expected to reach 300,000 by the 2019/2020 season. Doha Port is being redeveloped to create a new cruise hub in the region. In its third edition, the 2016 Qatar Summer Festival contributed an estimated QAR 630 million (US$ 173 million) to the national economy, while the inaugural Shopping Festival (Shop Qatar) contributed an estimated QAR 1.06 billion ($291 million) this year.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017, Qatar is the 2nd most competitive travel and tourism destination in the MENA region. It is also the only country in the Middle East to have achieved consistent growth in tourism arrivals over 2005-2015, according to the UN World Tourism Organisation.