The Next Chapter charts the next 5 years of Qatar’s tourism sector development. This journey began in 2014 with the launch of the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 (QNTSS). Since then, Qatar’s tourism sector has grown and matured rapidly. Throughout the Next Chapter, that development will be accelerated with an emphasis on diversification, of both visitor source markets and tourism products and services.
Major Policy Developments
Most open country in the region, thanks to a visa waiver policy allowing citizens of 80 countries to enter Qatar visa free. Qatar also introduced a free 96-hour transit visa, which has increased the number of stopover passengers by over 40%.
Emergence of Cruise Tourism
Emergence of a vibrant cruise tourism sub-sector, with projections to welcome 300,000 cruise visitors in the 2019/2020 season. This growth is supported by the QAR 2 billion project to redevelop Doha Port, which began in 2017.
Increasing Economic Impact
International recognition and accolades: Qatar was among Euromonitor’s Top 100 City Destinations, and has been ranked as the top GCC destination in Olery’s Guest Experience in the Middle East Report for 2016 & 2017.
New and Enticing Festivals
Introducing new and enticing tourism festivals, creating a colourful year-round calendar of events and making significant contributions to the local economy.
Growing Global Presence
Growing global presence through the establishment of 9 international representative offices and over 200 global media and trade campaigns in key markets.
The Next Chapter
Developing reasons for people to visit Qatar
The Next Chapter introduces a tourism blueprint for the country, outlining how this positioning will come to life over the next five years. This blueprint identifies 6 geographic zones across the country and ties each zone to tourism themes based on the area’s geographic characteristics and natural assets.
Local and international investors will be invited to develop tourism products and services in each geographic zone, in line with its proposed theme/s.
In addition to the development of tourism products, the Next Chapter also details a plan to expand the country’s calendar of year-round tourism festivals and events, to create even more reasons for people to visit Qatar.
Market resources in key international source markets
Marketing the reasons for people to visit Qatar
In order to generate global interest around the reasons to visit Qatar, the Next Chapter calls for expanding the international QTA network by:
• Increasing the number of representative offices around the world and the number of markets covered.
• Running global campaigns to market Qatar as a tourism destination, along with its tourism products and festivals/events.
• Working with DMCs to package products and events to deliver complete Qatar experiences for prospective visitors.
Ensure excellent visitor end-to-end experience
Ensuring the best possible end-to-end experience for visitors to Qatar is at the heart of the Next Chapter. New plans and measures are being designed to ensure favourable experiences at every touch point of the visitor’s journey to, from and within Qatar. This will be achieved through:
• The creation of tourism experience units in all relevant public and private sector entities.
• Working with relevant authorities to ensure infrastructure, both physical and digital, is in place to facilitate visitors’ journeys to, from and within Qatar.
• Developing and running training programmes for all employees in tourist-facing jobs.
New governance structure
The tourism sector is unique in its reliance on many ancillary sectors to succeed. Recognising the importance of close coordination, Qatar’s leadership has approved a new governance structure for the tourism sector to coordinate, consolidate and focus the efforts of its key members and stakeholders.
This new governance structure will be key to the sector’s development, and will empower its members and work together to achieve greater results.
A National Tourism Council will replace Qatar Tourism Authority and focus on strategic planning, attracting investments, developing and delivering festivals, regulatory affairs, and enhancing the visitor experience at every touch point.
The Council will report to a Board of high-level representatives, chaired by His Excellency the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani. The Board will guide the overall development of the sector, monitor tourism sector performance, and ensure cross-sector collaboration and focus.
The Board of the National Tourism Council also will oversee three new entities that will be charged with developing large-scale tourism products and experiences, promoting the destination internationally, and consolidating the efforts of existing stakeholders in the business events sub-sector.
Building on Qatar’s position as the region’s most open country, the Next Chapter will continue to enhance national visa policies to increase visitor access and ensure a seamless visitor experience.
Supportive regulatory framework
The National Tourism Council will work with relevant entities to establish a regulatory framework that will support the development of the tourism sector.
Ease of doing business
With a focus on increasing the involvement of the private sector in the development of the country’s tourism sector, the Next Chapter will enhance the ease of doing business in the sector.
Promotion of investment opportunities
The Next Chapter will offer a multitude of investment opportunities and invite local and foreign investors to participate in building what Qatar will be known for in the minds of visitors, for decades to come.
The Next Chapter charts a path for accelerating growth and fostering sustainable development in Qatar’s tourism sector over the next five years.
The Next Chapter aims to attract 5.6 million visitors to Qatar annually by 2023, double the number which the country welcomed in 2016. It also aims to achieve a 72% occupancy rate across all hotel establishments, through a combination of increasing demand and diversifying the country’s tourist accommodation offering.
Also by 2023, the strategy aims to have increased tourism’s direct contribution to Qatar’s GDP from QAR 19.8 billion in 2016 to QAR 41.3 billion, representing a direct contribution to the GDP of 3.8% (compared to 3.5% in 2016).
Tourist arrivals, from 2.9M in 2016
Visitors rating their experience as positive
Leisure visitors, with KSA <25% of total
QAR tourism spend
(from 17.3b QAR in 2016)
Direct GDP contribution, from 3.5% in 2016
Hoteal occupancy from 65% in 2016