Doha / QATAR: Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) projects tourism will contribute 8 percent to the country’s gross domestic product by 2030 with the implementation of Qatar Tourism Sector Strategy 2030.
“The target is 8 percent, which is the international average contribution to GDP by 2030,” QTA Chairman Issa Mohammed Al Mohannadi told a press conference yesterday ahead of the official launch of the strategy by year-end.
The tourism sector is also projected to contribute to creating about 127,000 jobs by 2030, which represents 5.3 percent of total employment in the country by 2030 — a huge leap from 19,900 jobs in 2012 which was only 1.8 percent of the total employment.
Revealing latest figures on tourist arrivals, Al Mohannadi said Qatar saw 15 percent increase in the number of inbound tourists in the third quarter this year, with 17 percent rise in the number of tourists from the GCC and 7 percent growth in tourist arrivals from other countries.
The Eid Al Adha holidays witnessed 90 percent hotel occupancy rate, he added.
He stressed that the Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Exhibition (MICE) sector as a major contributor to the growth Qatar tourism is witnessing.
“Business tourism is far more lucrative than leisure tourism,” he said, adding non-Arab tourists tend to come to the country for business tourism.
But this does not mean leisure tourism would not be given much attention. In fact, there is a need to develop it by creating more products to sustain tourism momentum throughout the year, he added. To encourage foreign investment, Al Mohannadi said one of the regulations would grant exemption to foreign investors to set up businesses without the need for sponsors and with 100 percent ownership.
He denied reports that it is part of the strategy to minimise outbound tourism and stressed the right of every resident here to travel. “The right to travel and experience other destinations is a vital right of every individual,” he said, adding studies have shown outbound tourism does not negatively impact a country’s tourism.
“China has 83 million of its population travelling around the world but that does not mean their tourism sector has failed. People will have to travel to other countries no matter how many tourist destinations it has,” he said.
Stressing the importance of the tourism sector in countries like Qatar, Al Mohannadi said, “The most influential countries in the world today have active tourism sector. There is a need to align the tourism sector to Qatar having played major role in world affairs.”
QTA started outlining the tourism strategy in collaboration with local stakeholders in June last year. It looked into global reports from international organisations and studied experiences of 26 countries which succeeded in the sector.
Aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030 and National Development Strategy 2011-2016, the tourism strategy takes into account local tradition and values, economic impact and environmental sustainability.