Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) led 10 industry stand partners on a 127sqm pavilion at IMEX in May, showcasing the country’s increasing venue capacity for hosting business events.
Qatar has a National Tourism Sector Strategy and a new, ‘Qatar Business Events Corporation (QBEC)’, effectively QNTC’s executive arm for managing events and venues in the state.
The main knowledge sectors in the country are Education, Health, Oil & Gas, Sport and Urban Development and the QBEC, says Rashed AlQurese, Chief Marketing Officer QNTC, the main agency for connecting these sectors to the private sector and acting as a point of contact for international organisers.
“Last year, we hosted over 150 exhibitions and conferences in various fields and won the rights to host eight major business events to be held between 2019 and 2022 with 2,400 prospective participants,” says AlQurese.
‘Qatar. Qurated for you’ is the country’s first global destination campaign launched in November 2018 and offers tailored visitor experiences that celebrate heritage. It is being rolled out in eight languages across 15 priority markets.
Over the five-year period between 2012-2017, QNTC reports a 36% average growth rate in exhibitions and the tourism sector, which now contributes 6.6% of GDP.
The Qatar National Vision 2030 is fast taking shape and promoting the smart and sustainable cities of Lusail and Msheireb as part of the Education City initiatives.
Qatar’s Financial Centre is also promoted as a one-stop-shop for firms considering opening local offices.
And, in Doha, work on infrastructure for the 2022 FIFA World Cup is proceeding apace, including stadiums and the Metro, with a station at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC). The centre reported a record year in 2018 and 2019 on track for even better figures. Highlights include the Doha Jewellery & Watches exhibition earlier this year which attracted 30,000 visitors over six days, up 28% on 2018. While the 8th Qatar International Agricultural Exhibition grew 33% in terms of space, and both exhibitor and visitor numbers were up over 200%. Construction exhibition Project Qatar 2019 attracted 14,500 visits and 510 exhibitors from 34 countries (an increase of 21% vs. 2018).
A DECC spokesperson tells EW: “The growing exhibition industry in Qatar is powered by the State’s 2030 Vision which aims at diversifying the economy and investing heavily into non hydro-carbon sectors, including healthcare, education, transportation, tourism, renewable energy, and financial services. We are in discussion with some organisers to launch new exhibitions in those profiles.”