By Rhys Jones
Qatar's tourism master plan, which will mean US $15 million of investment into new tourism infrastructure has been unveiled.
Qatar's tourism master plan, which will mean US $15 million of investment into new tourism infrastructure, was unveiled last week by Qatar Airways CEO and Qatar Tourism Authority chairman, Akbar Al Baker at the opening of the 4th Global Travel and Tourism Summit.
In the next six years, Qatar expects its tourism growth to double from 400 000 visitors to more than one million tourists by 2010 and thus, the master plan includes the $5 billion Doha International Airport.
“The new airport will open in 2008 and by the time it is fully developed in 2015, it will have an annual capacity of 50 million passengers and allow for Qatar Airways’ continued meteoric growth,” said Al Baker.
Eight new four and five star hotels are expected to open in 2006, which will increase hotel accommodation in the country by 2550 rooms. The hotels include the Hilton, Shangri-La, Four Seasons, Marriott, Rotana and Renaissance.
“The initiatives in this new tourism master plan will position Qatar as a leading high-quality tourism destination, in accordance with the forward-thinking vision of our country’s leader, the Amir, His Highness Shaikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani,” Al Baker added.
The master plan also includes the construction of the 32 km2 North Beach Development in early 2005, the four km2 Pearl Island, which is scheduled to be open by September 2006, a 45 000 m2 museum of Islamic arts and the national library. Also on the way is a photography museum on Doha’s Corniche, which will be ready in 2007 as well as the redeveloped Qatar national museum, due to re-open in 2006. The construction of Al Fareej and Al Mafjar Resorts are set to begin in 2005 along with the development of a public beach area at Al Sumaisma.
Plans to conserve and promote Qatar’s historic forts, the development and redevelopment of existing sports facilities are also in the pipeline.With the enormous amount of construction in mind, Al Baker was keen to distance Qatar from similarities with Dubai’s rapid growth.
“We are Qatar and we are a different country. We are not copying Dubai as we have our own tourism development plans, strategies and goals. I wish Dubai best and I know they are doing an absolutely fantastic job.”