By Andy Sambidge
Tourism chief says eight new hotels will be built this year, rooms to rise to 10,000.
Qatar is aiming to substantially increase its hotel room offering in 2010 as it embarks on a drive to turn the Gulf state into a major tourism destination.
Ahmed Abdullah Al Noaimi, chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority said he expects the tourism sector to contribute generously to the country's GDP within four to five years.
In an interview with Qatar News Agency, Al Noaimi said Qatar was currently establishing a strong tourism infrastructure.
He added that eight new hotels would be built in the country this year, providing up to 2,500 new rooms, bringing the total number of rooms in Qatar to more than 10,000.
Al Noaimi said the QTA was cooperating with the World Tourism Organisation (WTO) to establish a new system to calculate the tourism sector's revenues, which he expected to come on line within two years.
Al Noaimi said the QTA would be launching a European tour by the end of February which would promote the country in cities including Madrid, Munich, Milan and Paris.
He added that a similar tour would follow to cover Asian countries and a third one to target the US.
who would want to go there and why? There is nothing but a large building site...
They should think to invest in Taxis ... it's sooooooooo hard to find a taxi in Qatar if almost impossible and damn expensive . They are focused only on construction but they don't know that they are missing a lot of services . I would live in order in : 1- Dubai 2-Kuwait 3- Bahrain 4-Oman 5- Qatar but of course my country Egypt will come before all when i achieve all what i want :-)
As a Western expat living in Qatar for the past 5 years I can't see any reason to be here other than to work. Lonely Planet's label of Qatar as the 'Dullest Place on Earth' still applies. The worst part is it has gotten worse in the last couple years. A couple of the most popular 3 star places where a lot of western expats went for a drink and socialise have been closed down. Now you can't even get a drink before 5 pm as most lounges remain closed until at least 5. And the only place for a drink is in a 5 star hotel with 5 star prices. But also all the bars now require a membership. So tourists will have to get a membership by taking their passport with them to even go to a bar. Why would a European tourist come to Qatar when basically the only thing to do before 5-6 pm is go to the mall. You can't even go to the beach as there are NO public beaches around Doha. Then in the evening they have ONE entertainment option, which is go to a 5 star hotel.
To 'cutter' apparently a civilized place is one where he can have his cheap drinks... that's all he seems to think European tourists want. From that point of view I guess Qatar doesn't (and hopefully wont) fit the bill, I'm not sure why this whiner is still here though.
European tourists like alcohol at reasonable prices, yes, but you're right, that's not all they want. Big draws for tourists (from anywhere, really) include: good summer climate, historic interest, cultural interest, good museums, great arts scene, live music, world-class and variety of sports in great venues, outstanding (or even unusual) natural beauty, historic sites, etc. Qatar has none of these things. By IT'S OWN ADMISSION the Qatar Tourism Authority admits that the bedrock of getting people into the country is to be based on MICE activity and NDIA as a hub for onward travel. There's no reason other than the above and work why you would come here - there's nothing to see or do. Doha's attractions, such as they are, could be done in a morning. For those of us (like myself and, presumably, 'cutter') who like to keep what they earn then Qatar is right up there in terms of destinations. In tourism terms, it is, and will remain, at the bottom of the pile.