The investment opportunities in six ventures that the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) announced early this week, will explore many untapped areas in the tourism industry. QTA along with Qatar Development Bank ( QDB) have offered financial and non- financial assistance to the investors in six new initiatives. QDB will provide up to QR100mn support for any project.
The assistance will be provided to start luxury dhow dining cruise, luxury coach companies, 4 X 4 leasing companies, MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events); professional congress organiser and destination management services, ticketing systems and information distribution and roving cottage market or bazaar. QDB CEO Abulaziz bin Nasser al- Khalifa while announcing the initiatives had observed that the new strategy was to plug many shortcomings in the tourism sector in the country. “The new tourism strategy has identified some of the prevailing gaps in the sector and we are partnering with QTA to overcome these issues and turn them into opportunities,” he said.
The six projects were selected based on their commercial viability for small and medium-sized businesses. The first is tourist dhow services. Presently luxury dhow services are limited and unregulated in Qatar. The new cruise service will provide a fine dining experience, will be at least two hours long and travel a minimum of 10km.The ideal vessel will be up to 25m in length and be capable of carrying up to 60 passengers.
Next is the luxury coach company, the need for which is driven by the growing number of sporting and other events in which participants are required to move around the country. The features of the new buses will include reclining seats, individual TV screens, onboard toilets, WiFi, luggage compartments and at least one or two vehicles with open space or a seating arrangement that encourages interaction among the travellers. Another initiative is the 4×4 leasing companies that will have a fleet of a minimum of 10 SUVs which will have roll bars, first aid kits, radios and other safety equipment. These vehicle are leased out to tour operators to be used by drivers who are certified by an independent licensing agency and have fulfilled minimum training standards. Gulf Times
The next initiative is the roving cottage market and bazaar that will sell handicrafts, low-value jewellery, foodstuffs, musical instruments and other tourist or souvenir-type goods. This market will be set up at pre-determined and well-established venues such as Katara and operate mostly in the evening.
Another venture is the ticketing systems and information distribution as there is currently no one-stop shop for information on major concerts, exhibitions and sporting events. This will also give residents and tourists the opportunity to purchase tickets at kiosks or online. Staffed and unstaffed information kiosks are to be located throughout Doha and elsewhere in the country that allow users to search for upcoming events, purchase tickets and make reservations at hotels, restaurants and other places of interest.
Finally there will be opportunities for professional conference organisers and destination management companies. Such firms will attract, organise and advertise major events, such as sports tournaments, concerts, theatrical performances and conventions.