QTA will contract a minimum of 6,000 rooms on cruise ships for the 2022 tournament. The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has announced an ambitious plan to promote the state as a world-class tourism hub by diversifying its services and supporting the cruise industry, which has grown regionally at a rate of 30% a year over the past decade.
“QTA’s aim is to drive cruise traffic to Qatar, particularly since there are already large numbers of international visitors joining cruises in the Gulf, with other destinations receiving over 200,000 cruise visitors per year,” a statement issued by the authority said.As part of efforts to attract cruise operators, QTA, along with its partners in the Cruise Arabia Alliance, has represented the Arabian Gulf at Cruise Shipping Miami (fair) held in Miami, the US.
Cruise Arabia Alliance is a group of regional destinations which collectively promote and co-operate to attract cruise operators to the Gulf region and to develop the cruise industry. Taking part in the event reflects QTA’s vision to diversify tourism services and products by highlighting and supporting the cruise industry.
The cruise industry can contribute to the local economy in the long term, and as it develops it would benefit other partners like Qatar Airways as passengers will make use of the national carrier’s services when entering or exiting Qatar to join potential cruises. Local excursion and tour operators would also benefit greatly as “shore excursions” are extremely popular amongst cruise passengers.
Cruise Shipping Miami, the largest cruise convention in the world has been attended by most of the leading world cruise operators, industry and shipping experts, as well as major cruise destinations.
This year’s conference highlighted the fact that cruise fleets will expand on the global level by 2018, adding 10-12% capacity to the 360 ships currently providing 470,000 berths. Among the ideas discussed were also the fact that the cruise industry has grown regionally at a rate of 30% per annum over the past decade. Over the past few years, QTA has established a number of strong relationships with international cruise operators as well as with other specialists involved in the industry. This has proved to be of great importance especially that Qatar will be extensively benefiting from cruise ships over the 2022 World Cup, as a means of providing additional accommodation supply for fans and visitors over the period.
QTA will be contracting a minimum of 6,000 rooms on cruise ships for the 2022 tournament, and is building its knowledge base to develop this sector of the maritime industry.
Hassan al-Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA, commented: “Our participation with Cruise Arabia in Cruise Shipping Miami has been extremely fruitful, substantially contributing to our efforts to promote Qatar as a world-class tourism hub. Through Cruise Arabia we aim to position Qatar and the Arabian Gulf as a premier cruise destination, thus reinforcing Qatar’s position on the world tourism map as a premium destination for authentic experiences, business facilitation, and family-focused recreation.”
He added: “We received good results and positive feedback on our first participation in this global prestigious convention. We want to promote Qatar as a key maritime destination, and capitalise on the already substantial cruise traffic in the Gulf, which Qatar is currently unable to support. “Since Qatar has ambitious plans to establish a number of ports across the country; namely the new $7bn port project, we are well placed to take advantage of this tourism sector. The project is intended to better position Qatar to benefit from the expected regional growth in cruise traffic, when the container and vehicle carrier traffic, as well as general cargo traffic moves to the new port over 2015 and 2016.”