QATAR - Tourism
Chief Tourism Development Officer, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA)
Hassan Abdulrahman Al Ibrahim is the Chief Tourism Development Officer of the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA). He leads QTA’s Tourism Development Sector where he heads a multi-disciplinary team of specialists responsible for the development, implementation, and monitoring of national and institutional strategic plans, performance management systems, and quality assurance programs across the sector. Prior to joining QTA in 2012, he served in several senior positions in the marketing and project management divisions of national energy giant, RasGas. He holds a bachelor’s in computer engineering, an MSc in project management, and an EMBA from HEC Paris in Qatar.
Qatar’s National Tourism Sector Strategy (QNTSS) was launched in 2014, charting a pathway for developing the country’s tourism sector through 2030. Since QNTSS was launched in 2014, tourism in Qatar has developed rapidly to become a viable economic sector and has proven capable of contributing to economic diversification on a national level. So much so that it has been designated by the country’s leadership as one of the five priority sectors in the Qatar National Development Plan 2017-2022. In the process, new sub-sectors and projects have emerged, and with them an extensive group of new government and industry stakeholders. We have also refined our monitoring tools and gathered new data, which may shift our future targets and projections. While the vision behind QNTSS is to develop Qatar into a world-class tourism destination that reflects our cultural heritage, it will remain broadly the same, as the approach will be clearly articulated and focused on bringing private and public sector stakeholders together to achieve this.
Since QNTSS launched in 2014, there have been many milestone achievements that have shaped and defined the country’s tourism sector. These include major policy developments that have eased access to the country through a transparent and swift tourist visa application process, as well as the introduction of a free, 96-hour transit visa. Within just six months of its introduction, we are seeing a 40% YoY increase in stopover visitors to Qatar.
The 2016/2017 season witnessed a 1,000% increase in the number of passengers and 120% increase in the number of cruise ships docking in Doha. By the 2019/2020 season, port calls are expected to triple, bringing approximately 300,000 visitors to Qatar’s shores aboard cruise ships.
The economic impact of the tourism sector in Qatar is becoming increasingly visible. According to the draft 2015 Qatar Tourism Satellite Account, a system approved by the UN Statistical Commission for establishing the economic impact of tourism on a country’s economy, Qatar’s tourism sector made a total contribution of 4.3% to the country’s total GDP, representing 8.8% total contribution to the country’s non-hydrocarbon GDP. The economic impact of tourism is particularly evident during the nation-wide festivals, such as Qatar Summer Festival 2016 and the inaugural shopping festival, Shop Qatar 2017, each contributing an estimated USD100 million and USD290 million to the national economy, respectively.
Once the QNTSS’s review process is complete, we will have crystallized the tourism sector’s targets for 2030 and identified with a clear focus what the industry needs to deliver in order to achieve those targets, both from within the sector and those that can enable its growth. One key feature of the next chapter is that this development will be spearheaded by the private sector. This will inject new energy and ideas into tourism projects and is expected to usher in a new phase of growth for tourism and the broader economy. QTA will continue to provide guidance and support to every stakeholder and will work to ensure that it is on the path to fulfilling its role in the realization of Qatar National Vision 2030.