Qatar raises business tourism awareness with international road show
03-Mar-10by Annie Byrne
QATAR - The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) brought its roadshow to London, 2 March, as part of its five-city European tour to raise awareness of Qatar as a destination for events and business travel.The aim is to bring Qatar out from under the shadow of its neighbour Dubai as a business travel destination in its own right.Central to the burgeoning events industry in the Gulf state is the Qatar National Convention Centre, due to open in summer 2011 with 40,000sqm of events space. The centre is modelled after the Sidra tree, traditionally the community meeting place because of the shade it gives. The new venue will contribute to a total of 90,000sqm of events space in Qatar by 2012. Hotel capacity is set to more than triple by 2012, growing to 29,000 rooms from the present 8,495. Qatar continues to target business and high-end travel, with more than half of its hotel rooms ranked five stars.Currently, the average stay in Qatar is 1.5 days. The QTA hopes the new venues and hotels will double the length of stay.Of the 200 total events held in Qatar yearly, around 60 per cent are international, and 40 per cent from within Qatar. Of the international events, it is the UK that has the largest presence in the country.Chairman of the QTA, Ahmed Al-Nuaimi, says: “Through this roadshow we aim to build networks facilitating business between Qatar and the UK.”“Four years ago it was five exhibitions per year. This year we will have 35 exhibitions,” says Al-Nuaimi.Upcoming events include the 2011 World Congress for Oil and Gas, and the 2012 World Post Conference. Qatar is also bidding to host the 2022 World Cup.“If we do win it, it will change the map of Qatar,” he says.The QTA roadshow continues with visits to Paris, Milan and Munich. Plans are in the works for an Asian trip in the autumn, which would include Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Seoul, and Singapore.