Qatar's dynamic culture and heritage seen as a major selling pointQatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is to step up its promotional activity in the UK and has confirmed that a large-scale representation from Qatar’s tourism sector will take part in the World Travel Market (WTM) 2015, at London’s Excel exhibition centre from November 2nd to 5th.
The UK already ranks as Qatar’s largest European visitor source market by a substantial margin, accounting for more that 30% of all visitors from the Europe. British tourist numbers have grown steadily over the past few years, reaching more than 135,000 in 2014.span>
The outlook for the current year is equally positive and QTA has recognised the UK as one of its key growth market in its drive to build up Qatar’s foothold in the global quality leisure market.
QTA’s promotional efforts at WTM will be especially significant this year in marking the international unveiling of a Qatar destination brand.
QTA’s Chief Marketing & Promotions Officer, Mr Rashed AlQurese, said, “The introduction of our destination brand promises to be a major milestone in our on-going quest to establish Qatar among the world’s top premium destinations. It will provide a strong, memorable and consistent visual identity that underscores and exemplifies that aspiration.”
He explained that the brand will feature across the full spectrum of promotional assets from the design of QTA’s exhibition stand to photography, video, bespoke typography, digital platforms and marketing collateral.
Besides QTA itself, the Qatar presence on stand ME100 at WTM will comprise a strong delegation of leading hotels, DMCs and other industry suppliers.
“Alongside our exhibiting partners, we will showcase Qatar’s attractions and offerings, with special emphasis on the country’s rich cultural heritage. Our stand will provide a comprehensive ‘one-stop shop’ for the international travel trade,” said Mr AlQurese.
He noted that QTA’s increased marketing activity in the UK had successfully raised awareness of the destination among both tour operators and consumers. “The number of British tour operators featuring Qatar has increased from 17 in 2012 to 45 in the current year and this has ensured greatly increased exposure among consumers planning their vacation travel,” he said.
QTA is also working to boost relations with UK travel agents. A key initiative in this effort is the ‘Tawash’ online destination training programme for agents and other tourism industry professionals (www.tawashqatar.com). Since its launch a year ago, more than 500 British agents have signed up for the course, with 70% already graduating as qualified Qatar experts. Visitors to WTM will be able to register for the ‘Tawash’ programme on the QTA’s stand.
Qatar is not standing still. Luxury hotel construction continues, transport infrastructure grows at a pace, and bold new developments continue to be planned. Addressing the reasons behind Qatar’s success in the British market, Mr AlQurese noted that Qatar is a destination with its roots firmly embedded in the traditions of its past, but with ambitions firmly focused on the 21st century and beyond.
Qatar offers visitor’s a wealth of cultural experiences, including the spectacular Museum of Islamic Art, which houses the largest collection of Islamic art in the world, as well as the purpose-built performance facilties of Katara Cultural Village, which stage a year-round programme of theatrical, dance and musical performances by regional and international artists.
For an experience of living culture, there is nowhere in the region that can compare with Souq Waqif. A stroll down the alleys of this traditional market offers visitors a unique taste of local street life, authentic architecture and bargain shopping, as well as the opportunity to soak up the atmosphere over a coffee or Arabic meal.
Recently opened downtown hotels include the Meliã and Warwick Doha, which join the many top hotels brands already with a presence in the market. Other upcoming openings include the Mondrian Doha, Shangri-La, Westin Doha and Double Tree by Hilton.
Also on the horizon is a major addition to Qatar’s cultural landscape, with the new National Museum of Qatar, designed by world famous French architect Jean Nouvel, scheduled to open to the public in 2016.