Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is aiming to increase the number of business events in the country this year in a bid to further boost the sector’s contribution to the economy.
“Last year, we had about 120 business events. Up to April of 2018 we have 28 in the pipeline but our target is to have like 130 this year,” QTA’s exhibitions director Ahmed al-Obaidli said in Doha earlier this week.
He was addressing a press conference about the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE), one of the major and much-awaited business events in Qatar, featuring more than 400 brands from over 10 countries in its 15th edition.
The six-day exhibition, scheduled from February 21 to 26 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, will showcase a wide range of classic and contemporary luxury collections by internationally-recognised brands and designers at a 29,000sq m area.
Al-Obaidli noted that business events such as exhibitions and conferences alone contribute 2.3% of Qatar’s total gross domestic product (GDP) to its economy. The percentage translates into $3.5bn if taken from Qatar’s total GDP of $152bn in 2016, it is learnt.
QTA, particularly the business events sector, wants to further increase the number of foreign business visitors/travellers to Qatar, as part of its effort to attract 5.6mn tourists by 2030.
“This sector (business events) has been contributing to the whole tourism industry (of Qatar),” al-Obaidli said, citing that many of the events organised in the country are expanding and “becoming more international” such as the DJWE.
The senior QTA official also stressed the important role tourism stakeholders play in enhancing the business events sector, which further boosts the tourism industry in general.
“Tourism is an industry, it needs stakeholders and these are the hotels, airlines, the transportation that you have, the hotels and the restaurants,” he said.
“When an international exhibitor comes, he brings money into the country by utilising your airline, by using your hotel, the transportation, eating at your restaurants,” al-Obaidli explained, adding that they use an equation to compute the return of investment if, for example, an international businessman comes to Qatar for an event.
About the blockade on Qatar, he said the current siege provides a good opportunity for the business events sector to expand – a move that would attract more foreign investors and visitors.
“We are currently over 200 days of the blockade, but as you can see more than 400 brands from different countries are coming to Qatar. Even the exhibition space is increasing,” al-Obaidli said. “We have actually 80 exhibitors who would like to come to the exhibition but the space is limited.”
QTA is mulling to expand or extend the exhibition area for the DJWE next year to accommodate more domestic and international exhibitors.
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