Doha, September 27 (QNA) - The State of Qatar has launched the Next Chapter of its National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030, which charts the next five years of the tourism sector's growth in Qatar.
During the opening ceremony of the official celebration of the World Tourism Day, which is being hosted by Doha this year under the theme 'Sustainable Tourism, a Tool for Development', Chief Tourism Development Officer at Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) Hassan Al Ibrahim, said "Together with our partners in the public and private sectors, we have explored the most effective ways to build on the strong foundations that have been laid for the tourism sector since 2014, and to further develop the country's existing cultural and natural assets."
"As a result, the Next Chapter positions Qatar as a hub to discover - where cultural authenticity meets modernity, where the sand meets the sea, and where people of the world come together to experience unique offerings in culture, sports, business and family entertainment," he added
He explained that the Next Chapter charts a clear path of action for product and service development that will define the Qatar tourism experience.
Al Ibrahim added that the Next Chapter introduces a tourism blueprint for the country, outlining how this positioning will come to life over the next five years. This blueprint identifies six geographic zones across the country and ties each zone to tourism themes based on the area's geographic characteristics and natural assets. Local and international investors will be invited to develop tourism products and services in each geographic zone, in line with its proposed theme.
Chief Tourism Development Officer at Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) Hassan Al Ibrahim said "The opportunities presented in the Next Chapter are boundless. Professionals, investors, and the people of Qatar, all have the chance to be part of building what Qatar will be known for in the minds of visitors, for decades to come." In addition to the development of tourism products, the Next Chapter also details a plan to expand the country's calendar of year-round tourism festivals and events, and to generate global interest in the country through expanding Qatar's global network of tourism promotion offices.
Ensuring the best possible end-to-end experience for visitors to Qatar is at the heart of the Next Chapter. The strategy lays out plans and measures that are designed to ensure favorable experiences at every touch point of the visitor's journey. These include programs to facilitate interactions and shared experiences between Qatar's residents and its guests, as well as the creation of tourism experience units in all relevant public and private sector entities that will be tasked with ensuring that their organizations' services are continuously enhanced to provide remarkable experiences for Qatar's visitors.
The next five years will also witness intensive efforts to ensure infrastructure, both physical and digital, is in place to facilitate visitors' journeys to, from and within Qatar. In addition, training programmes will be developed and provided to all government and private sector employees in tourist-facing jobs.
To achieve the Next Chapter's targets, Qatar's leadership has announced a new governance structure for the tourism sector to coordinate, consolidate and focus the efforts of its key members and stakeholders. Qatar Tourism Authority will become the National Tourism Council, and will report to a Board of high-level representatives. The Board will guide the overall development of the sector, monitor tourism sector performance, and ensure cross-sector collaboration and focus.
The Next Chapter aims to attract 5.6 million visitors to Qatar annually by 2023, double the number which the country welcomed in 2016. It also aims to achieve a 72 percent occupancy rate across all hotel establishments, through a combination of increasing demand and diversifying the country's tourist accommodation offering.
Also by 2023, the strategy aims to have increased tourism's direct contribution to Qatar's GDP from QAR 19.8 billion in 2016 to QAR 41.3 billion, representing a direct contribution to the GDP of 3.8 percent (compared to 3.5 percent in 2016).
Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (WTO) Dr. Taleb Rifai delivered a speech where he praised Qatar's Achievements in the tourism sector saying that, over the last 20 years, Qatar has been able to dazzle the world with its development in the tourism sector both in terms of infrastructure and tourism products.
He added that Qatar continues its development through the strategy it intends to follow in the coming years in the tourism sector, which reflects the interest that Qatar attaches to this sector.
Rifai described Qatar as the most open-minded country after the measures it recently took to facilitate the entry of tourists, which included exempting citizens of 80 countries from obtaining a visa to enter Qatar.
He explained that the WTO always believes that tourism is an opportunity to support development and sustainability and that Qatar has been able to achieve this in the pursuit of economic diversification, adding that the impact of tourism is not only clear on the economy, but extends to other sectors of society.
He added that the strategy presented by Qatar today will not only affect the tourism sector, but will have a positive impact on the rest of the economic sectors.
He also noted that the world is witnessing two revolutions; the first is in the technology sector which is observed by everyone , while the other is in the travel sector, adding that there are many challenges facing this sector.
Taleb Rifai explained that these challenges include natural disasters, epidemics and that the travel means cause about 5 percent of harmful carbon emissions, expressing his belief in the ability of the tourism sector to overcome those challenges.
He added that the number of travelers around the world is increasing as about one-sixth of the world's population every year crosses their borders to travel abroad. About USD 3.2 billion comes every day from tourists around the world, which means creating huge employment opportunities and providing more investment opportunities in this huge sector, which accounts for about 10 percent of world GDP and about 30 percent of the global service sector, he added.
Government and Industry Affairs Director at the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) Helen Marano said her speech that this year's celebration is particularly important because it indicates that the tourism sector is a tool for the sustainable development of the economy, pointing out that the tourism sector contributes by about 10% to the economic growth of many countries and that Qatar is one of the where the tourism sector contributes to GDP growth.
Marano also expressed admiration for the New Chapter of Qatar's national tourism strategy, stressing that Qatar has made significant progress in this sector.
She pointed out that the summit of the Tourism and Travel Council held in April 2017 emphasized the importance of sustainability as an important factor in the growth of the tourism sector, pointing out that the tourism sector needs better management in order to protect its gains, whether by governments or the private sector, where identifying the destination of about 1.8 billion passengers a year worldwide is important for countries wishing to attract more tourists.
She explained that the WTTC is seeking to launch a study on the management of tourist destinations across the world to generalize these experiences, stressing that workers in the global tourism sector need to work together to achieve a partnership that will support the tourism sector across the world.
Governments and the private sector must work together to create a positive investment environment for the global tourism sector and thus contribute to the growth of this vital sector for the economy and employees of these countries, she said. She also reviewed many success stories of those who have been able to change their lives through their work in the tourism sector. (QNA)