Qatar’s tourism industry is capitalising on experiential travel, which is Arabian Travel Market 2017’s (ATM) main theme, to achieve its 2030 goal of welcoming 10 million visitors a year and generating $17.8 billion in tourism receipts.
Research released ahead of the exhibition highlighted that Qatar will look to generate 5.2 per cent of its GDP through tourism over the approaching years, creating 98,000 jobs and managing an inventory of 63,000 hotel rooms.
While the country’s culture and heritage remains of paramount importance, Qatar will also invest up to $45 billion in new developments under the National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030. These include $2.3 billion earmarked for 2022 World Cup facilities and $6.9 billion for transport infrastructure and associated projects.
Senior exhibition director, ATM, Simon Press commented: “Qatar’s well-paced National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 will steadily boost tourism numbers over the coming decade, with the first milestone of four million visitors a year by 2020, well on track.
“The government, hotel operators, airlines and other stakeholders are now beginning to see a return on their investment into the country’s tourism sector. Once again we see the leisure industry driving growth in another major GCC destination and this is a trend we expect to continue at least until the end of the decade,” he added.
Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has forecasted that the tourism sector’s total economic contribution will reach $22.2 billion (7.3 per cent of GDP) by 2026, up from $13.3 billion in 2015.
In terms of visitor arrivals, Qatar is the fastest growing destination in the region, averaging 11.5 per cent growth over the last five years, according to data from QTA. Meanwhile, QTA’s Tourism Performance Summary for Q3 of 2016 recorded arrivals of 2.18 million visitors in the first nine months of the year, including more than one million GCC nationals.
Throughout 2016, Hamad International Airport (HIA) saw passenger traffic rise by 20 per cent, handling some 37.3 million passengers – a 7.3 million jump on the previous year. These healthy numbers are partly attributed to Qatar Airways’ growth, which included 14 new destinations last year.
This year, arrival numbers are expected to rise due to the cruise season, which runs from October 2016 to April 2017. A total of 30 ships are expected to dock in Doha during the current season, generating 55,000 visitors. This could reach as many as 250,000 passengers by the 2018/19 season.
As for hotel room supply, Qatar is currently home to 22,921 hotel rooms with a further 15,956 rooms under contract, representing a 69 per cent increase in total stock in the current pipeline.
During ATM 2017 Qatari exhibitors will include: Qatar Tourism Authority, Qatar Airways and Katara Hospitality, among others.