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‘Qatar keen on attracting larger MICE & wedding groups from India’

India has emerged as the second important tourism source market for Qatar, and the Kingdom is keen to tap MICE and wedding groups from this market. Talking to TravelBiz Monitor at the recently concluded ATM in Dubai, Philip Dickinson, Global Travel Trade Market Development, MICE, Sport and ESport, Qatar Tourism said they continue to reach out to prospective clients through their India Representative, Brandit.

“We are keen on attracting larger MICE and wedding groups from India. India is still the second largest source market for us followed by Saudi Arabia. We are also seeing strong numbers from the likes of US, UK, Europe and the GCC region. For large MICE groups coming to Qatar from India, we are awaiting clarity for Hayya cardholders and bookings made directly through hotels. Relaxation has also been announced on visa on arrival for valid US, UK, Canada, Australia and Schengen visa holders, and we will have more clarity in the coming days.”

Talking about their strategy in India, he said depending on the size of the group Qatar Tourism is offering attractive incentive payments per passenger to trade partners. “Besides we conduct FAM trips, introduce the travel trade to our hotels, local DMCs and event organisers. We hosted 5-6 high-profile Indian weddings last year, and also the Destination Wedding Planners show. We will continue to talk to wedding planners to come and host their events in Qatar.”

With a view to attract more travellers, Qatar has also relaxed its norms for consumption of alcohol. “All the five-star hotels and most of our four-star hotels are licensed to offer alcohol. A lot of people want to enjoy a wine with their meal. Designated hotels and areas are  also offering alcohol to incoming visitors to Qatar.”

Shedding light on visitor numbers from the FIFA World Cup hosted by Qatar last year, he said, “We had record 1.4 million visitors for the World Cup which reached our estimation for the global sporting event. It couldn’t have been any better. From a destination stand point, it was an opportunity to create additional awareness with the world watching us. We saw the spin-off of the excitement and experience of seamlessly coming into to Qatar from tourists during January and February as well this year. With larger inventory created for the World Cup, we now have more number of rooms to sell, and greater capacity to host large scale events.”


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