Qatar passed a tourism law that requires all hotels to be licensed by the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and the Ministry of Business and Trade. The hotels are to be classified according to the facilities and services they provide in the month of January of every year. Interestingly, however, the law places the QTA and its chairman under the Minister of Business and Trade.
The head of the QTA is required to submit proposals to the Minister for policy decisions such as the licensing fees and number of tourism-related licences that can be issued in an area.
No tourism site can be set up nor can an activity related to tourism be initiated without a proper licence from the QTA.
The law provides for a new profession — that of tourist guides — but a guide must seek a licence from the QTA and the tenure of the licence is to be one year.
The head of the QTA must submit a proposal to the Minister so he can issue executive regulations or bye-laws to help implement the new law. And until the executive regulations are issued existing bye-laws are to remain in force.
The QTA has been given the right to cancel the licence of any hotel or tourism facility if it is found violating the provisions of the law and the cancellation will be effective for a minimum of six months.
The Minister has also been given the authority to cancel the above licences for a similar period in the case of non-compliance with the provisions of the legislation.
Licences for hotels are to be issued for a period of three years, while the tenure of the licence issued for a tourism facility or activity has been fixed at one year.
The licences will be renewable for similar periods or for more, says the law that has eight chapters and 31 articles and nullifies Law Number 7 of 1982.
The new law (Number 6 of 2012) was issued by the Emir, H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, and is to be enforced with immediate effect and published in the official gazette, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported yesterday.
The law covers the hospitality industry, including resorts, as well as tourism facilities, tourism activities and tourist guides.
Violators of the provisions of the law would attract a fine of QR100,000 and that will apply to any tourism facility or activity that is set up or initiated without a licence from the QTA, says the law.
All tourism facilities and activities thus licensed will be required not to do things that undermine national security or stability nor are against Qatar’s culture and traditions.