Qatar plans to highlight its special tourism status to the world

June 30, 2010
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Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) said that its vision included promoting Qatar as a cultural centre to the world and encouraging local tourism.
“The Museum of Islamic Art, the museums to come, and the cultural exhibitions hosted by Qatar would go a long way in making our vision a reality,” QTA chairman Ahmad Al Nuaimi said as he unveiled the vision at the 34th meeting of the World Tourism Organisation’s Committee for the Middle East (UNWTO) in Yemen.
The two-day meeting brought together 65 delegates from 12 Arab and international organisations.
“Domestic tourism encourages residents to spend less time abroad, leading them to spend more of their vacation in Qatar, which in turn adds to the prosperity of the sector concerned, he said.
Referring to the UNWTO secretary-general Dr Taleb Rifai’s report on the status of world tourism, Al Nuaimi suggested that the countries involved have to review their strategies and adopt action plans that work within the changing environment.
“The report shows that significant challenges still exist in the global tourism industry,” he said, recalling that 2009 was one of the most difficult years for tourism around the world, due to the effects of the global economic crisis and restrictions faced by the industry owing to H1N1 and other natural calamities. 
Tourism rates declined 4% globally. The number of international travellers dropped from 950 million to 880 million while tourism revenues fell worldwide by 6%.
The decline in tourism to the Arab region was lower than the worldwide slump, as the fall in foreign tourists numbers was replaced by a rise in local tourists.
“Future challenges for the tourism industry are not confined to economic or political crises or challenges of natural disasters,” Al Nuaimi said. 
On the status of Arab tourism, the QTA chairman said that the region still accounts for more than 5% of global tourism, a figure that has doubled over the past decade, according to the UNWTO.
“The tourism sector is an ever-growing business and yields increasing revenue every time attention is allocated to developing and enhancing it,” he said.
Tourism is the most effective tool in sustainable development, reducing poverty and unemployment and the most successful in sustaining the environment, heritage and society.
“This is a call to all of us to raise more awareness about tourism. Tourism authorities cannot work alone. Tourism is a broad sector that must be taken care of by all government segments,” Al Nuaimi said.

         

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About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Career
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
Education
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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