Very few countries could boast of being the cynosure of the world as Qatar. The World Cup 2022 brought the world to the Arabian peninsula and with what fanfare! But a crucial question post the World Cup frenzy was, what’s Qatar going to do now? Will tourism continue to be buoyant in the country that appealed to hordes of visitors from across the world during the World Cup?
“I always said that the World Cup is 29 days. The World Cup is a springboard for us as a country. It helped us with PR reach that is not doable with anything else as a country. We need to think about what happens after the World Cup. Look beyond. The World Cup was a good catalyst. We are at a place to show why Qatar is a top destination for travel and leisure,” said Berthold Trenkel, Chief Operating Officer at Qatar Tourism, on the side-lines of the Arabian Travel Market (ATM). Qatar Tourism showcased a 603-sq-m, double-decker pavilion at the ATM that presented the destination’s uniqueattractions while featuring its blend of modernity and cultural authenticity.
Qatar has seen a buoyant rise in tourism in 2023 following the World Cup. The Arab Ministerial Council for Tourism named Doha as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2023, a recognition of Qatar’s development in the travel and tourism industry. The country is targeting to receive more than five million visitors in 2023.
Trenkel said, “There was a mindset change following the World Cup, which brought Qatar under the spotlight. There has been an openness and pride among every one of having done this feat of hosting the World Cup. Tourism is a key pillar of the economy.”
The infrastructure in the country has grown by leaps and bounds since winning the bid to host the World Cup. In addition to the hotels and other facilities that were created, Qatar also trained scores of people in various fields that support tourism.
“We are committed to training all these personnel regularly and providing the support required by all the players in the tourism industry. We are closely working with DMCs, travel partners, and hospitality partners to help the tourism sector grow even more,” said Trenkel.
Qatar Tourism is focusing on two top segments of visitors. First, the stopover traffic. Trenkel explains: “We offer them a number of activities during their stopover to explore and experience Qatar. We want them to explore the art and cultural attractions, the local communities, and F&B scene. There are activities for those after an adrenaline rush – from desert adventures to kite surfing and everything in between. Then there are the visitors who come for the destination. They know what they want and there is so much for them to experience.”
Another sector that Qatar is keen to enter is Wellness Tourism. One of the key attractions of this Zulal Wellness Resort by China Som was launched in 2023. The only of its kind wellness and holistic center, Zulal offers a number of therapeutic modalities of which Traditional Arabic & Islamic Medicine is one of the key pillars.