Qatar: Tourism aims beyond 2022
Qatar's tourism sector will be one of the big winners of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with an accelerated building program of hotels, hospitality facilities and entertainment centers aimed at making sure fans will enjoy their stay, though care has to be taken to ensure that once the World Cup is over, visitors keep coming through the turnstiles. Even before winning the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, Qatar had been working hard to put in place the infrastructure to support a large-scale tourism industry. Some of these developments include an international airport that will be able to process 50 million passengers a year and a planned proposal to build a terminal to handle cruise liners. The finishing touches have been put to the $1.2 billion Qatar National Convention Centre, which has already begun staging events ahead of its formal opening before the end of the year, strengthening the country’s appeal as a business and congress destination. The center hosted the World Innovation Summit for Education last month and is planning to host the 20th World Petroleum Congress in December. In total, Qatar expects around $25 billion to be invested over the coming 11 years in tourism-related projects, according to information compiled by the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA). While much of this investment is still to come, Qatar’s tourism sector is already expanding, despite regional unrest and concerns over the global economy. The country has posted solid growth in 2011 while many nations in the region have seen arrival numbers slump or only marginally increase. According to data issued by the UN World Tourism Organisation (UNTWO) at the end of October, incoming tourism numbers are forecast to increase by between 4% and 5% over the next 12 months — a significant contrast to the drop in visitor numbers across the Middle East, where the agency says there has been an 11% decline. Indeed, it is possible that Qatar benefitted from the instability in some parts of the Middle East and North Africa. In the first six months of 2011, there was a 39.1% jump in the number of visitors from other GCC states, visitors who may have chosen to stay closer to home rather than travel to other countries in the region that were embroiled in political unrest. Data issued by the QTA also showed that the first half of 2011 saw a steady rise in hotel occupancy rates, with 63% of beds occupied nightly, up from 61% for the same period in 2010. Additionally, overall arrival numbers climbed 3.12%. Though visitor numbers and occupancy rates peaked in February, coinciding with Qatar hosting the Asian Football Cup, the drop off following the final whistle was negligible, according to the QTA. This could be significant for Qatar’s tourism aspirations deep into the next decade and beyond. While the country is pinning much of its medium-term hopes on the 2022 World Cup and the surge of visitors the event will undoubtedly bring, in the longer term Qatar must be able to maintain the momentum it generates in the lead up to football’s premier tournament. To do so, Qatar will need to expand the range of tourism activities it has to offer and hone those already up and running.
Source: Oxford Business Group
Etihad snaps up key stake in airberlin
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the UAE, has agreed to increase its stake in airberlin, Europe’s sixth largest airline, to 29.21%, becoming airberlin’s largest single shareholder. The strategic move, announced in Berlin by Etihad Airways chief executive officer James Hogan and airberlin CEO Hartmut Mehdorn, connects the airlines’ extensive networks and frequent flyer programs to offer travellers 239 destinations across 77 countries. Mehdorn said: “The strategic partnership with Etihad Airways opens up enormous opportunities for the future of our company.” “This applies especially to future market development and the realization of synergies.” “One of the key components of the new partnership is the launch of airberlin services to Abu Dhabi, which will become our new gateway to Asia and Australia,” he said. “The agreement with Etihad Airways will also dramatically improve the global connectivity of our customers in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and throughout the GCC and Middle East.” Hogan said the deal was one of the most important in Etihad Airways’ history.
Source: TradeArabia News Service
Abu Dhabi targets 15% rise in hotel guests
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) will launch some16 exhibitions and eight road shows across 18 countries in 2012 in a bid to meet its hotel guest target of 2.3 million – a 15% rise on this year’s target. The dynamic promotions line-up includes first-time participation in the IMEX America business tourism and incentive exhibition and the Riyadh Travel Fair as well as new-to-market stakeholder road shows in Australia, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and the Ukraine. “The program, which will run from February to November next year and also features Abu Dhabi’s return to Barcelona’s EIBTM show, has been designed in consultation with stakeholders and after reviewing the buyer profile of each exhibition. It is aimed at reinforcing our destination and product awareness internationally while diversifying the market mix to correlate with the global economic scenario,” said Mubarak Al Nuaimi, international promotions manager, ADTA.
Source: TradeArabia News Service
Hyatt opens landmark hotel in Abu Dhabi
Hyatt Hotels and Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (Adnec) have announced the opening of its premium business hotel in Abu Dhabi. The Hyatt Capital Gate Abu Dhabi is located at the city’s premium business address on the top floors of the iconic Capital Gate building, which leans a record-breaking 18 degrees. The hotel is strategically located adjacent to the thriving Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, within walking distance of the upmarket Embassy District and only 15 minutes from the international airport, said a statement from Hyatt. Occupying floors 18 to 33 of the Capital Gate building, the new hotel offers 189 luxury guestrooms and suites featuring floor-to-ceiling glass windows that offer sweeping, bird’s eye views of the Arabian Gulf and the city.
Abu Dhabi, Dubai named top Mice hubs
Abu Dhabi and Dubai have been named the top Mena meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (Mice) destinations, according to the 5th Middle East Meetings Industry Research report. The report, compiled by Reed Travel Exhibitions and meetme magazine, highlighted the rapid expansion of the industry in the UAE and predicted continuous growth. Updates and new developments both in the region and globally will be presented at the Gulf Incentive, Business Travel and Meetings Exhibition (GIBTM) 2012. Set to be held from March 26 to 28 next year in Abu Dhabi, GIBTM, a Reed Travel Exhibitions event, provides the ideal networking platform for the international meetings and events industry. Dubai is a key Mice destination ranked among the top 10 most popular business destinations in 2011, followed by Abu Dhabi, which is currently attracting 27 per cent of events staged in the region.
Source: TradeArabia News Service