Officials and representatives from tourism authorities and ministries from around the world will gather in Doha on September 27 to take part in the World Tourism Day (WTD) celebration, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has announced.
The event, themed ‘Sustainable Tourism – A Tool for Development’ this year, will be held under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani.
In a statement, QTA said the delegations will explore tourism’s role in sustainable development at a WTD Forum, which will be officiated by HE Sheikh Abdullah at the opening ceremony at the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel.
The Forum will witness the launch of the ‘Next Chapter of Qatar’s National Tourism Sector Strategy,’ which outlines a five-year plan aimed at diversifying visitor source markets, as well as tourism products and services.
QTA noted that a number of senior Qatari officials will also be speaking at the full-day event.
Qatari panelists include HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Mohamed al-Rumaihi, HE the Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar al-Baker, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy secretary general Hassan al-Thawadi, and Msheireb Real Estate CEO Abdulla al-Mehshadi.
“The Qatari officials speaking at the WTD Forum are all intricately involved in the country’s pursuit of environmental, societal and economic sustainability,” QTA’s chief tourism development officer Hassan al-Ibrahim said.
“The variety of fields they represent demonstrates how the creation of an authentic tourism experience cuts across so many sectors, both public and private,” he stressed.
Al-Ibrahim noted that the event presents a unique opportunity to gather industry partners from around the world to celebrate the tourism sector’s contribution to long-term development.
“WTD also seeks out ways to capitalise on the potential of ongoing tourism projects to achieve sustainability for our nations,” he added.
The celebration is the official day set aside in the United Nations’ calendar to highlight tourism’s contribution to some of the most pressing challenges society is faced with today.
Qatar won the right to host the WTD celebrations by a vote during the 21st UNWTO General Assembly held in Colombia in 2015.
“This year’s event gains particular relevance as we celebrate the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development,” UNWTO secretary general Taleb al-Rifai said. “Qatar’s commitment to developing its tourism sector is clear, as proven by its recent decision to grant visa-free entry to visitors from 80 countries.”
The occasion bears double significance for Qatar as it comes at a time when the country’s tourism sector is experiencing exciting and monumental changes.
In addition to the hosting of the industry forum, WTD will feature a public celebration that will involve Qatar residents.
On the following day, the visiting dignitaries and international tourism industry officials and professionals will have the opportunity to visit various landmarks around Qatar that showcase the country’s culture, heritage, nature and sports tourism assets.