Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive and Chairman of Qatar Tourism Akbar Al Baker
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive and Chairman of Qatar Tourism Akbar Al Baker underlined that the State of Qatar will continue to develop the travel and tourism industry, and achieve integration across the sector to increase efficiency and contribute to achieving the comprehensive development defined by Qatar National Vision 2030.
In a statement marking the World Tourism Day which falls on Sept. 27 of each year, Baker said, "Today, the world celebrates World Tourism Day under the slogan 'Tourism for Inclusive growth'. This recognizes the benefit the tourism industry brings to the global economy, as it touches many parts of the nation. The approval of HH the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on the establishment of Qatar Tourism reaffirms the importance of the tourism industry for the future of the State of Qatar."
"The tourism industry has recently witnessed major challenges, which have had a significant operational impact on the tourism and travel sector. However, despite the near halting of tourism and travel during the recent past, Qatar Tourism and our stakeholders worked to develop skills and services to revitalize the sector in preparation of welcoming visitors again," he added.
"As we prepare to host the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, the tourism experience is a major part of the tournaments success in recognizing Qatars promise to deliver the most impressive tournament in the history of the World Cup. To this end, we set a target towards achieving Service Excellence across every visitor touchpoint, creating products and experiences. We worked closely with our partners, integrating operations to develop Covid-19 recovery measures for the travel and tourism sector in line with international best practices. We have succeeded in introducing several initiatives, issuing new laws and regulations that contributed to the recovery of the sector. Starting with the launch of the "Qatar Clean" initiative, which contributed to elevating the hotel and food & beverage sectors. The hotel sector witnessed a 7% growth in occupancy rates during the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, despite the increase in the supply of room keys. This highlights our success in boosting domestic tourism and restoring confidence in the safety and the quality of service provided by the hospitality sector. We recently issued regulations for "holiday homes", a new tourism product for individuals and families visiting Qatar. This program provides a new investment opportunity in Qatar.
"We were able to overcome the difficult circumstances resulting from border closures and precautionary measures put in place to limit the spread of Covid-19. We found new ways to organize tourism events, exhibitions and festivals that prioritized safe experiences for the public. The 17th edition of HEYA Arabian Fashion Exhibition was the first major event to take place after the pandemic, and followed strict hygiene and safety precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. We also held the first virtual festival in Qatar, Chefs of Qatar Food Festival, and launched the 5th edition of Shop Qatar Festival to revitalize the retail sector in Qatar. Furthermore, we launched our Service Excellence Program, to ensure unparalleled customer service experiences across all visitor touchpoints. Overseen by a dedicated management team, this program will be applied across all tourism outlets in the country. This began with the refurbishment of traditional dhow boats. We also signed an agreement with Mowasalat, through which we launched an initiative to train more than 6,000 Karwa drivers.
"During this time, we embarked on our digital transformation journey. With a refreshed Visit Qatar website, we have also launched our first mobile application, to be a digital travel companion for visitors, allowing them to explore Qatars diverse offerings. In addition, the exceptional performance of Qatar Airways and Hamad International Airport during the global pandemic played an integral part in promoting Qatars travel and tourism sector. Adopting global protocols for health and safety during the pandemic, Qatar Airways won seven international awards and titles, with Hamad International Airport becoming the first airport in the Middle East and Asia to be awarded a Skytrax 5-star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating, in addition to being titled Best Airport in the World at the renowned Skytrax World Airport Awards 2021."
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