Qatar: 250 Tour Operators From 29 Countries Participated in First Qatar Travel Mart Exhibition

Qatar Travel Mart (QTM) 2021, organised by NeXTfairs for Exhibitions and Conferences, concluded with remarkable results of dramatic numbers of business leads and deals generated and record-breaking footfall.

Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Subaie, Minister of Municipality, and Sheikh Nasser bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, Managing Director of Qetaifan Projects visited the exhibition. Both the dignataries voiced their support for such a great effort to boost Qatar Tourism in the full spotlight of international partners, exhibitors and countries attending the first edition of the show. They were delighted to see the huge number of visitors present from various regions of the world.

Earlier, first of its kind of event inaugurated by Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Qassim Al-Abdullah Al-Thani with a ribbon cutting. Present on the inauguration were Chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker; Co-Founder and General Manager of NeXTfairs, Rawad Sleem; Vice Chairman of Al Hattab Holding, Abdulaziz Saad Al Kaabi; and Acting Chief Executive Officer of Katara Hospitality, Andrew Humphries; a number of prominent personalities including representatives of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group; Discover Qatar & Qatar Holidays; Katara Hospitality; Qatar Aviation Authority;  Qatar Free Zone Authority; Ashghal; a number of diplomats; representatives of Qatar Aeronautical Academy, Marriott International, AMFORHT, AlFardan Group, and Abuissa Group.

QTM 2021 was organised with the support of sponsors and partners. katara Hospitality being the founding Partner; Qatar Tourism as Strategic Partner; Qatar Airways Holidays the Founding Leisure Partner, along with Discover Qatar.  The Supreme Committee is the Founding Sports Partner, Qatar Airways the Official Airline and Mowasalat, as Official Transport Partner. Amadeus was event’s Technology Partner, Retaj Hotels & Hospitality the Gold Sponsor; and Gulf Adventures and Elite Motors were Silver Sponsors.  Association Partners include The World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Training (AMFORHT), World Leisure Organisation (WLO), and World Tourism Association for Culture & Heritage (WTACH).

During three day long exhibition and conference, panel discussions took place covering  topics like what future holds for travel and tourism. Industry experts shared their experience to give the visitors insights and knowledge about upcoming trends in travel and tourism. Among the speakers included Akbar Al Baker, Chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive; Ahmad Musa Al Namla, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Museums; Nigel Fell, President & CEO of The World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage (WTACH), Philippe Francois; President, World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Training (AMFORHT), Dr Cristina Ortega Nuere; Chief Scientific and COO of the World Leisure Organization, Florian Sengstschmid; CEO of Azerbaijan Tourism Board,  Emad Abu Jalala; CEO Gulf Adventures, Dr Ivan Ninov; Executive Dean of Al Rayyan International University College (ARIU), Sergey Sukhanov; CEO of Corporation Tourism, RF, JSC, Nuno Anahory; Chairman of Forum Portugal Qatar, Dr Sunny; Managing Director of Maldives Halal Travel Guide; Nick Wilkinson, Regional Vice President of the Norwegian Cruise Line and many others, in addition to other keynote speakers.

The event’s Hosted Buyers’ Program, involving 24 influential buyers from 15 countries including Germany, Russia, France, Malaysia, Turkey, Sweden, Denmark and the USA to network with exhibitors and close profitable deals, was hailed as a great success landing 860 B2B meetings and ensuing profitable deals for those attending.

QTM 2021 achieved such all-round success that a second edition of QTM has been launched for the year 2022. Sponsors and partners, exhibitors and visitors alike backed up the show’s success with their comments, he added.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Akbar Al Baker, said: “As one of the driving forces behind Qatar’s expansion and progress in recent years, Qatar Airways Group high lighted to support the Qatar Travel Mart 2021 as an excellent opportunity to unite the local travel and leisure sector and showcase our nation’s unique cultural heritage and vision for the future of Qatar as a tourism destination.”

Andrew Humphries, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Katara Hospitality said: “Our participation at Qatar Travel Mart 2021 presented yet another opportunity for Katara Hospitality to showcase its diverse portfolio of iconic hospitality gems located in key global travel markets. It is an honour to be among the global hospitality giants exhibiting their collections at this esteemed travel trade event.”

He added: “Tourism is a vital pillar of Qatar’s National Vision 2030 and we, at Katara Hospitality have long understood its importance in our quest for excellence within the sector.  We have seized every opportunity to foster and promote the country to pass on an outstanding legacy for future generations,” he added.

Rawad Sleem, Co-Founder and General Manager of NeXTfairs for Exhibitions and Conferences said that the facts and figures speak for themselves. With visitors’ numbers topping 6,300 and 860 B2B meetings generating major deals with DMCs and Tour operators, reaching millions, we are delighted with the huge success of the first QTM.

He announced holding of second edition due to the great achievement for 2022. Sponsors and exhibitors have indicated positive signs to participate as they welcomed the opportunity to close new deals and achieve significant business.

Nigel Fell, President & CEO, World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage commented: “The Qatar Travel Mart and Conference 2021 (QTM21) was a World Class event that will help in re-shaping tourism leaders and industry stakeholders gather to do business post COVID19. Embracing new ideas, innovations and technologies, QTM21 was an inspirational platform that set new standards in exploring visitor economy growth but in ways that ensure we better protect our environment, cultural heritage assets and the fabric of the worlds’ local communities.

Rick Enders, Cluster General Manager, JW Marriott Marquis, Marriott Marquis and Marriott Executive Apartments City Center Doha, enthused: “QTM was a wonderful platform for us to interact with industry colleagues, experts and consumers and to showcase our capabilities as a cluster organization.

Florian Sengstschmid, Chief Executive Officer of Azerbaijan Tourism Board said that “Qatar Travel Mart proved to be a great initiative in bringing together the key stakeholders of the tourism industry. It was certainly a great pleasure to be a part of it from the very first time together with 12 industry partners from Azerbaijan. We are certainly looking forward to coming back here next year to further our connection with our esteemed partners.”

Wafiq Al-Wahidi-General Manager-Amadeus Qatar, said: “It gives us great pleasure to be the technology partner of the Qatar International Exhibition for Travel & Tourism – QTM 2021, which was organized for the first time in the State of Qatar. This exhibition is a great achievement and source of pride for all of us, and there is no doubt that it stimulated and revived the tourism sector in the country after the global Covid-19 crisis.

QTM 2021 hosted a three-day media familiarisation trip for international media, which showcased the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ stadiums and many of Qatar’s famous cultural sites and attractions, as well as allowing the press to experience Qatar’s impressive hospitality landmarks. The International Media Partners came from as far afield as India, Malaysia, UK, China, Dubai, Canada and Russia.

Qatar Tourism hosted its first mega travel trade familiarisation (fam) trip this week, welcoming 250 tour operators from 29 countries across 17 core markets around the world, to showcase Qatar as a leading holiday destination, ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™at the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort& Convention Hotel.

Present on the occasion were Akbar Al Baker, Chairman of Qatar Tourism, and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive along with international travel and tour operators.  The evening included a cultural program with live entertainment, with attendees able to discover traditional handicrafts, art and entertainment, while experiencing Qatar’s world class hospitality.

A documentary by Qatar Tourism Qatar as new destination ‘Experience a World Beyond’ was also displayed featuring CGI characters showcasing Qatar and its offerings.

Akbar Al Baker stated: “Qatar Travel Mart has provided us a unique opportunity to introduce to the world the crème of our tourism industry, the private sector partners who bring our experiences to life for visitors.Our ‘Experience a World Beyond’ campaign targets 17 top visitor source markets for Qatar and features nine characters designed with CGI technology. With the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 just a year away, our short-term priority is to cater to the expected 1.5 million visitors and cultivate them into future ambassadors for our destination through exceptional experiences.”