Keeping in mind that oil and gas revenues won’t support Qatar forever, the country has been working to diversify its economy to meet future needs.
Tourism appears to be one part of that plan, with a senior official announcing yesterday that the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) aims to contribute some 3 percent to the country’s gross domestic product by 2030. Tourism currently accounts for less than 1 percent of the nation’s annual GDP.
According to Chairman Issa Mohammed Al Mohannadi, who spoke during a press conference yesterday, the “Qatar Tourism Sector Strategy 2030,” a plan outlining how QTA will reach its goals, will be released within the next two months.
If the 3 percent target is achieved, it’s likely to be a boon for the job market. Last year, 1.8 percent of all jobs – or some 19,900 people – in Qatar were in the tourism sector. By 2030, that number is expected to grow by 107,100, and represent some 5.3 percent of the total employment market.
A leisure destination?
In the past, Qatar has made no secret of the fact that, unlike Dubai, it does not want to attract low and mid income leisure tourists, focusing instead on business travel and high-end luxury retreats.
Al Mohannadi told the Peninsula that the business travel sector is responsible for a great deal of the tourism growth in Qatar – a deliberate strategy, he said, as “business tourism is far more lucrative than leisure tourism.”
He added, however, that leisure tourism is not being ignored, signaling an effort to introduce more “products” to sustain visitor numbers year-round.
According to the Peninsula, there’s also a plan to allow foreign investors to set up 100 percent-owned tourism businesses with no local sponsorship, a significant development for Qatar, which currently requires almost all businesses to have a local sponsor.
QTA figures released in February this year point to an increase in the number of leisure tourists, and demonstrate the incredible growth of the country’s hotel industry. Some 110 hotels were under construction last year alone.
New statistics released by the QTA concerning Eid al-Adha travel continue this trend, with 16 percent more tourists from GCC countries visiting Qatar this year compared to last. Visitors from outside the GCC increased by 7 percent.
To help improve Qatar’s appeal to tourists worldwide, the QTA launched “My Qatar,” this week, a competition that asks residents to explain how they think the country should be marketed. Those who submit their thoughts on a slogan and a new “brand logo” could win a luxury vacation within the country.
“Darling, I think we should go on holiday somewhere different this year. How about Doha? They have building sites, and interesting driving. We could shop for overpriced luxuries in a death-trap mall. They have a traditional 21st-century souq, and local cuisine such as McDonalds and Pizza Hut. We could see the slave-labourers from The Guardian. Our kids can kill themselves on quad bikes in the desert. And if we want to save some money, we can avoid the 5-star hotels and spend two weeks without access to alcohol. How about it?”
“It’s my dream come true. Let’s book the flights now. Do you think they have poorly curated museums too?”
“Oh darling one more thing…..as a tourist you are free to come but you are not free to leave”
Just having some fun 🙂
funny but QTA should take it seriously – you see yourself 5x more attractive when you look in the mirror.
Brilliant but you forgot the best tourist attraction ever…..the Doha hop on / hop off bus……
talking about the hop on/hop off bus…last evening when I left Lagoona Mall, there was the smallest version of it. It was empty!
Really? Imagine that! :))))
I wonder if I did one for London here what the reaction will be. Probably not as tolerant judging from past experience.
Go one, do one. I for one would probably like it. (Leave out the bits of London that are full of Arabs though….)
Like any major city, London has its faults but it also has all the elements, infrastructure and attitude required for a thriving tourism industry. I love Qatar but I struggle to see why anyone would come here for a two week, hard-earned vacation. I really hope in the future we get to that stage but there is a long way to go and a major change in attitude required to achieve it.
In all seriousness, I’d be a fool to argue that Doha is anywhere near as good a tourist destination as London.
My point was that I doubt most of the people here would react well, if I were to write a satire in the same style about London where I basically highlight what I, a Muslim Arab from Qatar, consider to be the negative points about London.
For example, the issue of alcohol is one that can often be seen here discussed here between those who think the restrictions on alcohol is too much and violates their basic human rights, and those who cannot tolerate the idea that alcohol is available in anyway here.
But that’s the great thing about London!
Everybody is free to do what they want. If u don’t want to associate with alcohol, it’s pretty easy for you avoid the bars/pubs and you can eat in one of the many Halal restaurants etc.
(Although it seems quite a few GCC nationals come to London for the booze 🙂 )
You are also free to dress how you want, even though people covering their face is not normal in our culture and most people find it a bit scary/rude.
I think you should do the satire anyway, Abdulrahman. I’m sure I’ll agree with some of your observations! Turbohampster makes the point very well. In European cities, everybody is free to do what they want. It’s tolerant and non-judgmental which is how you have to be if you want to attract tourists. Sadly, Qatar is nowhere near that stage. I’ve been here for many years and I’ve stayed so long because I love it here and I’m excited to be living in a country which is developing every day. However, I find it sad when I am scowled at by local women in the malls. I have no idea why they do this. It can’t be inappropriate dress because I am always dressed conservatively. I smile at them and I am greeted with a sullen face and/or a scowl. I shrug it off but it’s not so easy to do that when I have family visiting and they ask me why the locals are so unfriendly. I really wish they wouldn’t tar all expatriates with the same brush. We’re not all here for the beach and the party………
Go ahead and entertain us but I think this is once where you should wave the white flag.
In my personal opinion a Muslim country can never become a tourist destination unless they bend rules regarding alcohol and other things like PDAs which shouldn’t and must not be done.
Malaysia seems to manage it.
But they are doing it wrong because they are bending Islamic rules.
Doing it wrong? How so? It’s a very popular tourist destination which retains its Islamic roots and culture. It’s successful because it embraces both.
How? I went to KL the last 2 days of Ramadan one year. In the malls those who were fasting did so. Those who were not ate. As a driver told me…”We have progressed out of the dark ages”. I’m not sure why those who deem themselves so pious have to hold everyone else to that same standard. Believers or not. Religion is about your own relationship with your God. Holding others hostage to your beliefs make you no more pious in God’s eyes.
Indeed. Live and let live. As a Catholic, I don’t expect people around me to stop eating chocolate because I’ve given it up for Lent. Neither do I expect them to not eat meat on Fridays…..During Ramadan here I cannot even sip water at my desk. I consider that to be very intolerant.
And only fish on Fridays right? lol if I go to McDs and everyone else isn’t eating fish I’m going to call the cops. Have them flogged or some such nonsense.
LOL. Oh and I forgot to say that at my work during Ramadan the kettles are removed from the kitchen so that we cannot make tea/coffee. My non-GCC Muslim colleagues couldn’t care less if I have a cup of tea at my desk but unfortunately they don’t set the rules….
I don’t think countries become tourist destinations unless they already have attractions. People visit other Islamic countries because of historical sights, archeology, natural beauty, and climate. Qatar lacks in these areas, and they aren’t really things you can create. History is what people marvel over. People don’t go to places like Jordan and Turkey because they can drink alcohol and make out in public there, they go there because there are endless sights and wonders to visit.
Another reason people travel is shopping, but it is way too expensive here for that to be a reason. So, while someone might travel to one of the smaller US cities and shop until they drop, people won’t shop here. I’ve had several family members visit me since I’ve been here, and they have done absolutely no shopping. It’s just too expensive.
Not all people look for travel destinations to get stone drunk and have make-out sessions in public.
Well that would be something to do here. Sans that…..hmmmmm…….I’m stumped
London has its fair share of faults! And people from UK would be first to admit it, myself included. Unlike over here were if u criticise anything, no matter how justified. A lot of Qatari’s seem to take it is a personal attack (yourself not included) and we get the old “if u don’t like it go home line”. Where as pickup any paper in the UK and it will be filled of criticism of the UK Government, country etc etc.
But to compare London and Doha in terms of tourism I mean come on!
Well, we cannot all be mistresses, some of us have to be Queens :p
Would that be a Latvian queen? Sorry but that’s illegal here.
If you like what you see put a ring on it, if you like what you see put a ring on it, put a ring on it, put a ring on it XO
AR – you can criticise London as much as you like.
I’ll even help you do so!
A down-vote? Oooh-err!
I never knew Boris Johnson followed Doha News?
Oh, yeah; and when my own people who love London more than life itself come after me for speaking ill of their holiest of the holy , will you help me then! :p
I see your point.
I still don’t really get the Arab (because it’s not just Qataris) infatuation with London. Those I’ve spoken to, after a visit there, don’t seem to do much that would be exclusively London. Possibly the fact that most wealthy Arabs have a good grasp of English, therefore no language barrier?
I’ve often wondered the same; what is the appeal of London? There are so many other choices of cities out there, but London seems to be the place to be, but why? As you may guess, I’m not great fan of the big smoke.
New York City is the ONLY place to be. Hands down.
Currently Qatar is really no more than a weekend stop over destination. Every country dreams of the big spending, high end tourists but they are a demanding bunch. A lot want alcohol, they don’t want restrictions and they need some top quality places to stay with exceptional service. Qatar severley lacks in that respect currenlty.
So what is Qatar’s major business tourism attraction?
the new airport.
Qatar would struggle to even start competing for 5* tourists against the likes Oman and Jordan, they simply have more to see, and do. Those who can afford to stay in ‘absolutely no discount’ 5* hotels will more than likely have easy access to any of the shops that are here, in their home location. They likely have a more exotic expectation of a holiday destination?
As I see it, Qatar has a choice? Be content with the short stay, largely Saudi, tourists that it has now, and don’t expect any significant growth. Or, drop the 5* only idea, build a lot more reasonably priced hotels with the facilities tourists want, build lots of attractions, and go toe-to-toe with Dubai.
It would take a very brave, and optimistic, person to invest money in a 5* exclusive tourist industry. Doesn’t The Pearl illustrate the risk, of that thinking, quite well?
Ali is correct, no Muslim country should become a tourist destination if it’s wants to maintain the ‘purity’ demanded by some.
Unfortunately for Ali and others, the country’s leaders understand that for the long term benefit of the country some compromise is required and are trying to allow that compromise, whilst trying to keep the more ‘conservative’ members of the population happy – no mean feat, which often means that no one actually seems to be satisfied.
What I have to wonder though is what sort of long term future these ‘conservatives’ see for their country and it’s population? Once the oil and gas is exhausted, or alternative energy sources developed, there will be no money to support the health service, well paid government jobs etc. so does everyone just return to their nomadic desert existence and consign the Land Cruisers to the scrap heap?
It will take far more than a lack of ‘purity’ to make Qatar a tourist destination. I think you are putting way too much weight in the power of alcohol and whatever other impurities you are thinking about. I mean, there are far more interesting places to have a drink than Doha, so people won’t come here even if beer starts flowing from taps. What most tourists want are cultural and historical sites and relics, things they can’t get at home. I know that I have spoken to many Qataris who have traveled to Europe and done little more than shopped and visited restaurants. To me (and others I know), that is only one aspect of tourism, and personally it is the least interesting. I can stay home and eat and drink, but I can’t visit the Taj Mahal, Petra, the Tower of London, or the Smithsonian at home.
Doha may not have the ‘old’ cultural attractions but there is nothing to stop them building some ‘modern wonders’ to attract tourists.
You also seem to forget that there are a large group of tourists who just want to be able to ‘kick back’ and relax on a beach or in a resort and go to a nice restaurant (with wine) to have a great holiday. With it’s beaches and generally good climate Qatar is in a great position to capitalise on them if it chooses to do so.
I haven’t forgotten. I just don’t think the group you speak of is that large and cannot fathom why they would select Qatar over any other country with nice beaches. I also don’t think Qatar has a good climate, and there are far more beautiful beaches even within the GCC. Still, we’ll see what happens…
I would go to Greece, Spain, Italy or Turkey for that
The beaches are so-so, the water is much too salty and 6 months of the year it’s too hot to lay in the sun. And it’s too damn expensive to vacation here.
I understand. Dubai had nothing too, but people come to see the wonders of modernity that Dubai has built. In order to be amazing like Dubai, you have to “think big”, which Doha does not. Plus, when it comes to the good winter weather and sea, Emirates overlooks the Indian Ocean with a sea bottom that it is great for snorkeling. That’s a reality. The consistency of the ocean floor in Qatar is quite sandy, therefore you cannot even have that kind of sport tourism to attract people.
When Ithink of the Alhambra in Granada or the Eiffel Tower of Paris, the Colosseum of
Rome or the British Museum of London, the next touristic vivid image and destination that I have is the Fanar of Doha… well, faaaar before the Big Wall of China, the paradisiac shores of Costa Rica, the amazing of Dubai and the Buddhist temples of Bangkok.
Now honestly, with all of my good intentions when I think of Doha I just think about relaxing in a Spa, because there is not much to do. You have to have something to “attract” tourists…..! Seriously do you think that people from touristic countries would
consider Qatar a tourist destination? I could write a treaty on tourism out of
logics, when you come from a top touristic country……
PS. The Mathaf is the typical example of a museum that has an amazing space, but no info, not people knowing where it is, when you enter the private museum you have to leave
your ID. Imagine if you would have to leave your ID in museums of touristiccities in the world. You have to have also the proper people in place to make this a touristic destination!
Thats a good joke: Qatar as an tourist destination. What you will do there? Boring in malls, see the desert & rude locals… Never again, my foot will step in an muslim country… I see.. wrong topic.
oh no pleaase please stay we need you!
we need you to be stereotypical, we need you to be rude and inconsiderate we need your acceptance!! :”(((
business tourism? Business man wants to have their own company…
Unfortunately you can only buy athletes, sporting events, airline awards, not history, art, culture !
Oh, but you can colonize far away lands, steal their art and culture, and displayed it in your own museums.
Apparently most of the things displayed in Museum of Islamic Arts are from Iran,Egypt, Jordan and India.
Yes, Qatar has colonized Egypt, Jordan, and India. Oh, wait!
No just taken their stuff
There’s a reason that Lonely Planet called Qatar the “Most Boring Place on Earth”.
Every country has good and bad things…..its just u go to the right places,meet the right people and live in the right area…QATAR will be best if the govt. officials take some more measures to improve the quality of the life style of people living here(not the the high class any more)…As a tourist its nice to come and go but….when u stay for long you will start facing difficulties probably……
The Doha News photo says it all.