The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is all set to launch a comprehensive strategy before the end of the year, in a move that aims to attract more foreign visitors to the state. 
“Details of the ‘Qatar Tourism Sector Strategy 2030’ will be disclosed either in November or December,” QTA chairman Issa bin Mohamed al- Mohannadi said yesterday.
Part of the strategy will include “benchmarking and involving all its local stakeholders who have been working to develop destinations in Qatar for both domestic and international tourists”.
“Through this, we will be able to know what went wrong and what went right,” said al-Mohannadi who reiterated the importance of tourism programmes to the state’s economy as they created more jobs and various opportunities for people. He cited the case of countries like France, the US and China where tourism remained vibrant.
QTA also wants to promote domestic tourism, encouraging citizens and expatriates to visit local destinations instead of going abroad.
However, he reiterated that everyone had the right to travel and visit places abroad.
“There are about 83mn Chinese travelling the world but that doesn’t mean that China is failing in their (domestic) tourism programmes,” he said.
Describing tourism as the fastest-growing branch  of economy, he said it also enhanced the country’s brand and created jobs.
Tourism, he pointed out, contributed at least 9.1% to global gross domestic product in 2011. At least 8.7% of the total employment also came from this sector in the same year and this translated to 255mn jobs.
In Qatar, al-Mohannadi noted that QTA had recorded a 16 to 17% increase in tourist arrivals from other GCC countries during the Eid al-Adha holidays compared to the previous year. The number of tourists outside the GCC visiting Qatar grew 7% .
Hotels in Doha, he said, had seen their occupancy rates rising to about 90% .
“QTA wants to contribute significantly to Qatar’s GDP,” he said.
From 0.7 to 0.8% in 2012, QTA is projecting a 2.9 to 3.3% growth by 2030. It also expects tourism-related jobs to grow from 19,000 in 2012 to 127,000 by 2030.
Al-Mohannadi disclosed that QTA was in the process of creating various products and services appealing to the international market.
“It is also banking on its human capital development which aims to enhance the capabilities of the people in various sectors.”
He said the new strategy had economic, cultural, social and environmental benefits as well.