The Secretary-General of Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive Officer, Akbar Al Baker, has said that Qatar received 588,000 visitors during the first quarter of this year, an increase of 10 percent compared to the Q1 last year.
“We are making strong progress and the results of the first quarter (Q1) of 2019 are encouraging. We welcomed 588,000 visitors representing a 10 percent increase over Q1 of 2018 and witnessed excellence occupancy rates in the recent months,” said Al Baker while addressing an event yesterday.
The event, Annual Tourism Ghabga, was organised by QNTC at Doha Sheraton Hotel for the representatives of the tourism sector. He said that another success story is the result of the cruise season 2018-19 which concluded on May 10 with the arrival of seasons’ last ship Seabourn Encore. “We welcomed four ships carrying over 140,000 people making 100 percent increase over the last season,” said Al Baker.
Al Baker said that this growth is expected to continue in the coming years and Doha Port to be one of most important winter cruising ports broadening opportunity for Destination Management Companies to handle these cruise visitors. “As all travellers know every tour needs a good tour guide as the first point of contact between visitors and the host country. They are integrals to our visitors’ overall experience. To this end, we continue to train and license tour guides, equipping them with knowledge about how to bring our destination to life,” said Al Baker.
He said that a total of 132 tour guides have been licensed and the goal is to ensure that everyone involved in this profession should have the proper licensing, required training to welcome guests.
“With ‘Summer in Qatar’ soon to start, we have an exciting range of activities, events and initiatives that will engage with local, regional and international guests helping to strengthen Qatar’s reputation as an attractive destination for leisure, entertainment and retail,” said Al Baker.
He said that the partnership between both private and public sectors is a key element for ‘Summer in Qatar’. “We will constantly develop further assets to broaden the appeal of Qatar to include families and cultural tourism seekers while making Doha more recognized and attractive short-break distention,” said Al Baker.
He said that Qatar’s stop-over program has brought 100,000 visitors while Qatar Airways will continue to promote the product and has brought close to 200,000 visitors to Qatar.
“Discover Qatar will also launch exciting new products over the coming months including a fully managed kinds of facility, luxury desert resort, professionally organized tours to view the amazing population at the cost of Qatar,” said Al Baker. He said that Qatar Airways is going to invest millions of Qatari Riyals in developing these facilities and then eventually handing them over to the private sector.
“It is heartening to see that Qatar is becoming a genuine seven-night winter destination for visitors especially from Europe,” he said, adding, “As the result of products enhancement, Qatar Airways providing hugely competitive rates to the trade, tour operators.”
He further said: “We developed the tourism products further and even more optimistic for the future.” He said that Qatar Tourism Authority has become National Tourism Council putting tourism on high in national agenda and will facilitate closer cooperation between public and private sectors partners to build a thriving sustainable tourism industry.
“We can build the industry in a sustainable manner realising the value for all stockholders including hotels, DMCs, MICE and retails,” said Al Baker. He said that Qatar’s hospitality industry continues to expand.