With more than 150 business conferences hosted every year, Qatar has positioned itself in the global map as a destination for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE), according to a report by Oxford Business Group (OBG).
In 2014, Doha hosted 22 “significant international meetings,” more than Luxembourg and the same number as Abu Dhabi, Frankfurt, and The Hague, and was ranked 108th of cities globally by the International Congress and Convention Association, the report said.
Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) acting director of exhibitions Ahmed al-Obaidli told OBG that “Qatar hosts more than 150 business events each year.” Among the main offerings in the MICE segment is the 40,000 sq m Qatar National Convention Centre, the QR2.3bn ($631mn) Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre in West Bay, and other key venues like the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel.
To further develop Qatar’s MICE industry, the QTA held a training for private sector stakeholders in April to shed light on the industry’s latest trends and best practises in sustainability for business events.
Entitled “Sustainability in the Events Industry: The Why, the What, and the How,” the training attracted more than 50 key members of Qatar’s business events industry. Al-Obaidly said some of the sessions were designed to give the QTA’s private sector partners the tools to create a sustainable business events industry for a sustainable economy.
He also noted that it is “critical” to ensure that the growth which Qatar’s business events sector is experiencing “is consistent and sustainable.”
On visitor arrivals, al-Obaidly said the QTA’s strategy to increase the number of visitors to Qatar by 20% over the next five years places strong emphasis on business events as a priority sector in achieving this growth.
In November 2015, the QTA unveiled a new “Qatar Destination Brand” at the World Travel Market in London as part of efforts to draw potential tourists from abroad. The image, a “word mark” that blends Arabic, English and symbolic elements, will be used across the industry to promote the country as a tourism destination, OBG said.
The design, which was commissioned by the QTA, took two years to make and was developed through a “nationwide process involving locals, youth, residents, artists and a spectrum of relevant stakeholders”. Its Arabic element was designed by the renowned Qatari calligrapher Ali Hassan, OBG said.
The OBG report stressed that Qatar’s tourism sector “is well-placed” to boost its share of a growing and competitive global market given the quality of its infrastructure, solid leisure and sports segments, and state support.