With the start of the season of winter tourism events and festivals across Qatar, tourism experts have called for the need to take the advantage of the great momentum created by the hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 to increase the number of tourists. The experts also stressed the need to prepare tourism programmes suitable for all segments of the society -- rich, medium and ordinary levels.
Akbar Al Baker, chairman of Qatar Tourism and CEO of Qatar Airways Group, said the selection of Doha as the capital of Arab Tourism for 2023 by the Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism recently is a recognition that Qatar offers an amazing tourism experience for all international travellers.
In a recent press release, he said, “The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has allowed many to experience Qatar’s hospitality, culture and authentic heritage, and we are waiting for a diverse and distinctive calendar full of events for 2023, in addition to the opening of more attractions and entertainment destinations across the country during the new year.”
“The assessment of the cities was carried out based on a selection of criteria, including tourism management, infrastructure and resources, safety and security, the diversity of tourism activities, as well as the preservation and protection of the environment,” he stressed.
Tourism experts who spoke to the Qatar Tribune emphasised the need to participate in important globaltourism exchanges and exhibitions to promote tourism in Qatar, pointing to the importance of focusing on cultural and sports tourism. They believe that there will be a noticeable increase in the number of tourists wishing to visit Qatar in the backdrop of thefascinating experience of the World Cup fans around the globe.
Qatari rally driver Nasser Al Attiyah recently told Qatar Tribune that the World Cup has promoted the name of Qatar all over the world, and many people are eager to visit the country.Attiyah said sports tourism is currently one of the most important types of tourism.
Mohammed Al Dossari, owner of a group of tourist chalets, stressed that the country has all the advanced and modern infrastructure to attract foreign tourists, especially with the large number of modern hotels and hotel apartments. He said, “The choice of Doha as the capital of Arab tourism in 2023 reflects the position assumed by Doha as a destination for all peoples of the world.”
He pointed out that Qatar has many attractive tourist spots, such as Souq Waqif, Katara Cultural Village, the Pearl Island and the Old Port of Doha, in addition to many beaches, parks, hotels and various tourist resorts.
Hussein Mustafa Yagi, a manager of a tourist agency, said: “The World Cup has brought a huge promotion to Qatar’s name through thousands of TV stations, media outlets and various social networking sites that have followed this important event, and many people have a passion to visit the country.”
He added, “Qatar has many other elements that can bring about a tourism renaissance, including Hamad International Airport, which is the best airport in the world, and Qatar Airways, which has a network covering various continents with a fleet of young and excellent aircraft, as well as the modern internal transportation network represented by the Metro.”
Dr Ahmed Al Mirghani, professor of tourism, said: “All the necessary ingredients for the launch of tourism are now in Qatar, but a system of prices must be developed in hotels, restaurants and cafes, so that they meet all categories, whether high, medium or low.”
He said that hosting the World Cup has brought huge publicity for Qatar, but the issue at the moment is how to invest this publicity in increasing the number of tourists to the country, because Qatar has become known all over the world.
“The tourism authorities in the country have a major role to play in accelerating the exploitation of the current global interest in Qatar and translating it quickly into an increase in the number of tourists,” he said, pointing to the need to prepare various tourism programmes suitable for different segments of tourists.
For his part, Saud Al Blushi, owner of a tourist restaurant, said: “Hosting the 2022 World Cup will not only contribute to increasing tourism demand in the future, but will also contribute to enhancing investment in the tourism sector.”
He added that his company has started receiving emails, letters and inquiries from international foreign companies wishing to invest in Qatar. Blushi stressed the need to participate in tourism exhibitions in foreign countries in order to attract more tourists.
Mahasin Al Khaldi, director of a tourism association in Jordan, confirmed that she is preparing several trips to Qatar, especially after the increasing demand to travel to the country after the World Cup and after what everyone has seen from culture, sports and facilities, especially desert tourism represented by Adventures on the sand. She added, “The World Cup was the best means of tourism advertising for Qatar,” pointing out that Qatar impressed the world through its good organisation of this important football event.
Khalidi said the guests of the World Cup were very impressed by the degree of security and safety in Qatar, in addition to many events organised by the concerned authorities in the country. She added that the high level of the organisation contributed to changing the stereotype of many around the world, about the Arab and Islamic world, especially with regard to hospitality.
For his part, sports and culture journalist Ahmed Al Shawabkeh stressed that there is a great responsibility on the shoulders of the tourism sector in Qatar after the World Cup, whether the private sector or the government, because the World Cup left a great legacy that needs huge efforts to follow up.
He said, “This great legacy should be exploited by working to continue the momentum in the tourism sector in the coming years,” calling for amendment of some laws to allow investors to establish their projects freely and without taxes to open the door of the tourism economy.