The Business Year

Issa Al Mohannadi

QATAR - Tourism

For All the Family

Chairman, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA)


Issa Al Mohannadi is the Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), prior to which he was the Founder and CEO of Msheireb Properties, a subsidiary of Qatar Foundation and one of the world’s most exciting and progressive real estate companies promoting sustainability in architecture and heritage preservation in Qatar. In addition to his position at the QTA, he occupies a number of distinguished posts within public and private organizations in Qatar. He is the Founder and Chairperson of the Qatar Green Building Council, which actively promotes sustainability in the local construction industry as it works towards formal membership in the World Green Building Council. He is also Vice-Chair to the Doha Film Institute (DFI) and a Board Member of Qatar Airways and Barwa Real Estate Group. He has a Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University, as well as specialized training certificates in Project Management from George Washington University, Washington, DC, Harvard Business School, INSEAD, and Kellogg Business School.

Having taken the helm as Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) in the recent past, what are your first thoughts on Qatar’s tourism sector, and which areas have the […]

Having taken the helm as Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) in the recent past, what are your first thoughts on Qatar’s tourism sector, and which areas have the most potential?

One year on from being entrusted by His Highness the Emir with the Chairmanship of the QTA, we are progressing well toward our aggressive goals. Qatar’s tourism sector is leading the GCC region in growth. There is potential all around, which is why we have undertaken a methodical review of the tourism sector in Qatar and benchmarked it against some of the leading markets, products, and offerings in tourism and hospitality worldwide. The result is the National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030, which will pave the way for a sustainable tourism sector in every sense of the word. In order to effectively take advantage of these new assets, Qatar is investing heavily in infrastructure projects, such as Hamad International Airport, Doha Metro, and the New Port Project. Once completed, we believe Qatar will have an unbeatable combination of assets that will vault us to new levels of international recognition among tourists and travel advisors.

In what ways is Qatar marketing itself as a world-class tourism destination?

Effective marketing requires telling an authentic story. Luckily, we have significant material to work with in terms of the products and services that visitors can experience in Qatar. The National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 aims to position Qatar as a world-class hub with deep cultural roots. The QTA promotes Qatar as a safe and welcoming destination that offers authentic experiences, business facilitation, and family-focused recreation. In addition to promoting MICE, culture, and urban products, the QTA is looking to position the country as a family-friendly destination and an ideal place for wellness vacations with a focus on culture, the natural environment, and outdoor pursuits.

How is the QTA coordinating with Qatar Airways and other stakeholders in promoting Qatar as a tourism destination?

The QTA works in partnerships to plan, regulate, and promote the development of a sustainable and mature tourism sector that contributes to Qatar’s future and positions the country as a leading tourism destination. The National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 was created and will be implemented with other stakeholders from the public and private sectors. Through my board membership in Qatar Airways, we ensure that the QTA and the national airline are aligned on national objectives and goals to be reached. We have and will continue to collaborate on several national projects, which will undoubtedly bring value to the destination.

How has the opening of the Qatar National Convention Centre altered the landscape for the MICE sector here in Qatar, and what strategies are you following in order to increase the attractiveness of the MICE sector?

The business tourism sector continues to lead growth in overall tourism numbers to Qatar. Supporting this increase are the world-class venues on offer to MICE planners, including the Qatar National Convention Centre. Looking ahead, there is excitement for the launch of the new Doha Conference and Exhibition Centre. In addition to the venues, we continue to work with event planners in the region and globally, attend leading conferences, and ensure key industry stakeholders are informed about the offers.

What is your outlook for Qatar’s tourism sector in the short term?

The National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 ensures quick wins as well as long-term goals and sustainable growth. The outlook is bright, but we must be realistic in focusing on the promotion of the products on offer today. That’s why the strategy focuses on promoting MICE, urban, and cultural products in Qatar. The total number of tourists is set to rise to 7 million tourists by 2030, from 1.2 million in 2012.



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