National Day/ Qatar Tourism Authority .. Ongoing Successes and Continuous Efforts

Doha, - Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has achieved a number of accomplishments during the current year as part of its ongoing keenness to attract a largest number of tourists wishing to explore the State of Qatar and its rich components that meet their aspirations.

This year's National Day is being marked while all performance indicators for tourism industry show remarkable improvement and growth while is intensifying its efforts to attract more visitors from the region and the world and pay a particular attention to boot ties with investors and partners in order to diversify tourism products in Qatar and enhance its international presence.

A latest report on the tourism sector's performance revealed that the State of Qatar received during the first nine months of this year 2.18 million visitors, of whom more than a million visitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) while Saudi Arabia topped the list of GCC countries of visitors in Qatar and international markets. In 2016, the number of Saudi tourists rose by 7% compared to the year 2015.

In a qualitative step to promote the country as a world-class stopover destination., QTA in collaboration with Qatar Airways and the Ministry of Interior has announced the implementation of a revised, free-of-charge tourism visa scheme for passengers transiting through Doha.

As part of its continued efforts to represent the State of Qatar internationally, QTA has took part in the first joint meeting between undersecretaries of tourism and culture ministers in the Gulf Cooperation Council, which was held in the GCC General Secretariat headquarters last week in Riyadh.

QTA was also keen to participate in a number of regional and global promotional tourism fairs at, such as the IMEX in Frankfurt, the Arabian travel market and the World travel market in London.

QTA was also keen to participate in a number of regional and global promotional tourism fairs at, such as the IMEX in Frankfurt, the Arabian travel market and the World travel market in London.

QTA has inaugurated its pavilion at the International Tourism Bourse (ITB) Berlin 2016, the largest exhibition to travel in Europe, which showcased Qatar's tourism accommodation options with many leading international and local hotel brands.

QTA also participated in the World Travel Market (WTA) in the United Kingdom as part of its efforts to highlight the natural, historical and cultural features that abound in Qatar and to promote awareness of British travel experts and policymakers on the tourist characteristics of Qatar. The event witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Qatar and Georgia to promote bilateral tourism cooperation.

QTA has also unveiled the Qatar Destination Brand aimed at consolidating the image and promotional efforts of stakeholders in Qatar's business events sector, focusing on the world-class facilities and attractions that underpin Qatar as a leading choice for business events.

QTA has as well inaugurated new representative offices in key world tourism markets such as Istanbul and New York and hosted 'Qatar Day' in Milan, Italy, an event to introduce key Italian tour operators, travel professionals, and travel media to Qatar's tourist offerings.

In the first quarter of 2016, QTA hosted a tourism marketing summit, which brings together senior QTA head office executives, representatives of QTA's five overseas offices and private sector stakeholders to review their plans and marketing strategy for the year.

In conjunction with the Global Industry Development Network (GIDN), QTA also hosted a group of international associations in Qatar, showcasing not only the best of what Qatar has to offer in hosting business events, but also defining those associations to potential local partners such unions a series of networking events and meetings.

QTA as well took part in participated in the preparatory meeting of the GCC agents responsible for tourism held in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation between the GCC countries in tourism sector, and also the second meeting of GCC Ministers responsible for tourism aimed at developing comprehensive vision and strategy on joint action in the field.

With regard to developments in the field of marine tourism, QTA, in coordination with the Ministry of Interior and Qatar Ports Management Company (Mwani Qatar), have announced new measures to facilitate the disembarkation of cruise passengers and their entry for a seamless tourism experience.

QTA also announced the conclusion of an agreement with German cruise liner TUI Cruises to include Qatar in its itineraries. Seven cruise ships with up to 17,500 visitors will berth in Qatar during the 2017/2018 season.

In addition, QTA launched a new training programme to develop professional tour guides for Qatar aimed at developing human resources working in the tourism sector and to raise efficiency in the local market to offer tourist with an enjoyable experience, along with a training course designed specifically for tour guides working with cruise passengers in order to address the unique needs of guiding shore excursions.

During the cruise season, which began in October and continues until April 2017, 32 cruise ships are confirmed to call at Qatar's ports with an expected 50,000 passengers on board.

Qatari film "The Essence of Qatar" earned the gold medal at the New York International Film Festival 2016, which honors the world's best TV and films.

The short film produced by QTA offers a comprehensive cinematic experience and scenes for the cultural heritage and tourist landmarks of Qatar.

QTA has also organized a training course for its partners in the private sector about the sustainability of business events within the framework of its ongoing efforts to strengthen the State's ability to attract and host exhibitions, conferences and international meetings, and in order to explore the latest trends and keep abreast of best practices in this area.

QTA also introduced a new hotel grading and classification system to ensure ratings are more fair and transparent. QTA guides hoteliers through the process of implementing required changes needed for their hotels to maintain their star ratings and is working collaboratively with hotels to ensure they make the improvements at a reasonable pace and with minimum disruption to their business.

Within the diversification and development of tourism activities, products and services in Qatar, QTA has organized the 2016 Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha Festivals, which attracted thousands of visitors and residents to several locations around the country, including shopping malls, museums, sports and cultural facilities.

QTA also spotted a huge success for the 2016 Qatar Summer Festival of Qatar concluding on 31 August, which has attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors while Qatar Entertainment City has alone attracted 140, 000 visitors from around the region to enjoy the performances and the advantages offered by Qatar as family travel destination. (END) Qatar received the largest number of visitors in March as QTA organized in partnership with Qatar Airways the 7th edition of the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) to celebrate culinary culture which received record-breaking 200,000 visitors.

As Qatar celebrated this year's National Sport Day, QTA has concluded agreements with 47 members of the hospitality industry to offer Qatar's residents and visitors health packages.

QTA invited all Qatari citizens and residents to join the celebrations of the World Tourism Day (WTD) 2016 celebrated under the theme of "Tourism for All - promoting universal accessibility" to explore famous landmark attractions.

Through a combination of special rates from tour operators, discounted packages from hotels, as well as a QTA-organised social media competition, people all over Qatar will have the opportunity to celebrate the global event.

Source: Qatar News Agency