In the 2023 list compiled by Forbes Middle East, hospitality companies, along with hotels and resorts, were the most represented with 59 entries.
Forbes Middle East recognised three Qatari leaders in its annual ranking of the region’s Top 100 Travel and Tourism Leaders for 2023, in a significant nod to Qatar’s growing influence in the sector.
The list, unveiled on Saturday, includes Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker, Katara Hospitality CEO Nasser Matar Al Kuwari, and Hamad International Airport COO Badr Mohammed Al Meer.
Taking the second spot on the list, Akbar Al Baker’s position underscores his exceptional leadership at Qatar Airways Group.
His ranking is based on the size of the operation he manages, his asset ownership, extensive career experience, and substantial influence within the industry.
Al Kuwari, the newly appointed CEO of Katara Hospitality, assumed his role in January 2023. He was recognised as the 22nd most influential leader in the sector.
Further solidifying Qatar’s standing in the region’s travel and tourism industry, Al Meer, the COO of Hamad International Airport, was listed as the 31st most influential leader.
In the overall 2023 list compiled by Forbes Middle East, hospitality companies, along with hotels and resorts, were the most represented with 59 entries, followed by the aviation sector, including airlines and airports, with 31 entries.
The Middle East is fast becoming a major player on the global stage, hosting high-profile sporting events such as the Formula One Grand Prix in Qatar, Bahrain, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia.
Qatar, in particular, has been instrumental in this transformation.
The nation successfully hosted the FIFA World Cup in 2022 and is slated to welcome the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2027 – both of which making their first appearance in the Middle East.
Authorities in Qatar have also marked a major increase in visitors as Qatar ups its efforts to boost tourism, eyeing six million visitors every year by 2030.
Qatar recently announced plans to expand the Hayya Platform, which was a crucial gateway for fans travelling into the country during the tournament last year, to provide more access for tourists who currently require visas.
The move has also seen the Hayya platform transformed as the country’s single portal for all tourist visas required to enter Qatar.
The relaunch of Hayya accelerates the status of Doha as an Arab Tourism Capital and will allow visitors from over 15 Arab countries to enjoy Qatar and all that it has to offer.