With Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) opening up to new markets, hotels in Qatar can tap into niche sectors through “special offers” to attract more tourists into the country, an industry expert has said.
Aside from “special offers”, Sheraton Grand Doha general manager Saeid Heidari said Qatar also has the required tourism infrastructure to attract more tourists and establish itself as a travel destination.
“When we look at the vision for Qatar and the wisdom behind that to drive the sports sector, education, medical, infrastructure and the oil and gas industry, there are a lot of opportunities for the future.
“And if we're looking at the tourism sector, there is a growing number of people who are interested to travel and explore, and they comprise different niche markets,” Heidari told Gulf Times.
Citing QTA’s international roadshows, Heidari said promoting Qatar to different parts of the world is helping the hospitality industry determine the types of customers to attract – whether for sports, education or shopping.
“We can go after new niche markets in Qatar through ‘special offers’, and I see a very big chance for our business to grow, especially with the promotions QTA is doing through roadshows in different countries,” he added.
Citing China as a “huge” travel market, Heidari said: “If we could only get 0.1% or 0.2% of the Chinese market, we won’t have enough hotels in Qatar…that’s not very difficult to achieve now that visa freedom has been extended to more countries.”
The official also stressed the role of the local market in boosting the country’s tourism sector. He said the industry “should adjust itself” to cope with the demands of its customers.
“As a hotelier, we need to pay attention to the local market because not everybody can travel during the weekend, and that means there are a lot of people in the country, hence the concentration is in the local market. We need to have rethinking of our strategy on how to take care of the local market because this is a big plus point for us,” he pointed out.
Asked about the impact of the economic blockade on local suppliers, Heidari said there would be a strong focus on local products.
“There are quite a few things that are changing. This is a general shift happening to society – there will be more concentration on local products and this is an opportunity for many people.
“Entrepreneurs and local businesses are getting the chance to grow their respective businesses and I see that as a positive for the local market; new markets and new ideas are coming in and they will be very supportive to the economy,” he stressed.