WTM: Qatar to focus on luxury in run-up to World Cup

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Qatar is targeting regular 20% annual increases in overseas visitors as it develops its luxury offering ahead of hosting the 2022?Fifa World Cup.

Ahmed Abdullah Al-Nuaimi, chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority, said the destination did not want to compete for mass market business, but would be focusing on the five-star market.

It is expecting to welcome 1.2 million overseas visitors this year, and will be looking for 20% increases each year as a significant number of new hotels are built.

“We used to have 2,500 rooms; now we have 13,000 and over the next three to four years we will be adding more than 10,000,” said Mr Al-Nuaimi.

“And it is not just about additional rooms – we are also focusing on our tourism infrastructure including transportation and attractions.”

The UK is Qatar’s largest overseas market, and the tourism authority will be targeting the trade with new online training, an expanded roadshow programme and educational trips for operators and travel agents.

It is extending its 48 Hours in Doha campaign in conjunction with Qatar Airways as it initially targets stopover business.