Aligned with Qatar’s new tourism strategy, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) signed a 17-month agreement with the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to develop policies, regulations and strategies needed to take Qatar’s booming tourism into the future.
The agreement will see UNWTO update and create benchmarked processes within QTA. Based on international benchmark standards, the UNWTO and QTA shall develop a consistent and locally relevant monitoring and quality control system across the wide range of tourism activities described under Law 6 of 2012, described as the ‘Tourism Law’.
The UNWTO partnership shall further ensure that Qatar has a well-planned and reliable tourism industry meeting expectations of the international travel trade. While the country tourism sector thrives, QTA’s agreement with UNWTO also seeks to align the tourism boom with Qatar’s 2030 vision, ensuring that tourism is also sustainable.
Commenting on the initiative, HE Eng Issa Bin Mohammed Al-Mohannadi, chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority, said: “We are conscious of the importance of environmental sustainability for tourism development and as the regulator of industry standards and codes, we are taking the lead in ensuring sustainable growth and development of Qatar’s fast-growing tourism sector.”
UNWTO secretary-general, Taleb Rifai said: “This is an important step forward in developing Qatar’s tourism policies, legislative framework and institutional capacities. This agreement reflects the strategic priority afforded, by the Government of Qatar to tourism, as a driver of socio-economic development. Qatar has made strong headway and is firmly establishing itself as a prominent destination on the region’s tourism map. The activities contemplated in the agreement will translate into more competitive and varied tourism products and services.”
QTA’s overall tourism development strategy is aimed at lowering Qatar’s carbon footprint, energy and water consumption, and so also at protecting Qatar’s natural habitats, its wildlife and its marine reserves.
Qatar’s tourism sector grew 13% in the first quarter of 2013 as compared to 2012, fueled by a hotel boom. The hospitality sector plays a crucial role in the growth of tourism and Qatar’s hotel sector is growing at an incredible rate – 110 hotels were under construction last year, which when finished will offer 19,931 rooms to visitors. Last year, hotels in Qatar had a total capacity of 13,407 rooms.