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15 things to know about Qatar

1 Safety & Stability

Qatar ranks as the second safest country in the world. 
Golden Visa 2015 World Safety Index

Qatar ranks as the second most stable country in the Middle East. 
Fragile States Index 2015

2 Money Qatar has the highest GDP per capita ($145,000) in the world.
CIA world Factbook 2015
3 Currency Exchange rate of the Qatari Riyal (QR) against the US Dollar is fixed at QAR 3.64 per USD
4 Connectivity Qatar Airways, winner of the ‘World’s Best Airline’ Award, connects Doha to more than 150 destinations across six continents. 
5 Hospitality Qatar’s hospitality sector tops its peers in GCC destinations in terms of guest experience.
Olery Guest Experience in the Middle East 2015 report
6 ICT Qatar is one of the most connected countries in the Arab world, with 91.5% of its population using internet, and 98% of its households enjoying internet connectivity.
State of Broadband Report 2015
7 Education Qatar Foundation’s Education City is home to seven world-renowned higher education institutes, demonstrating the importance the country places on education and knowledge as a foundation for a sustainable modern society.
8 Research

Qatar boasts several state-of-the-art research facilities, working to find developments in the computing, biomedical, energy and environment fields.

The Arab Expatriate Scientists Network, which seeks to reverse the brain drain suffered by Arab countries, was established in Qatar in 2006.

9 Sports Qatar is making sports history as the first Middle Eastern country to host the 17th  World Championships in Athletics in 2019; FIFA World Cup in 2022 & FINA World Swimming Championships in 2023.
10 MICE Qatar has a track-record for successfully hosting large-scale international conferences and events, including the 20th World Petroleum Congress, UN Climate Change Conference (COP18) and Science Parks & Areas of Innovation World Conference (IASP 2014).
11 Health Qatar is the biggest spender on healthcare in the Middle East; 90% of residents are satisfied with health services.
National Health Accounts Report 2015
12 Tourism     Qatar is one of the fastest growing destinations in the world, with tourism arrivals averaging 11.5% annual growth between 2010-2015.
UNWTO Barometer 2015
13 Media The Al Jazeera Media Network is headquartered in Doha and has 80 offices around the world.
14 Arabian Heritage 

Qatar is home to Al Zubarah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Marwan Al Shaqab, foaled at Al Shaqab in Doha, holds 24 international titles and is sire of 8 world champions. 

15 Trade & Investment In the beginning of 2016, Qatar introduced several reforms to facilitate foreign investment, including allowing 100% foreign ownership of companies in the free trade zone Manateq.


Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) – An Overview 

Long-recognised by the country’s leadership as an avenue to further Qatar’s development, tourism has been designated a priority sector by the government. Qatar Tourism Authority’s mission is to firmly establish Qatar on the global map as a world-class tourism destination with deep cultural roots. In 2014 QTA launched the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy (QNTSS), which seeks to diversify the country’s tourism offering and increase the sector’s contribution to Qatar’s economy by 2030.

QTA works in partnership with public and private stakeholders to achieve this mission by planning, regulating and promoting a sustainable and diverse tourism industry.

As part of its planning efforts, QTA identifies types of tourism products and services that will contribute to the Qatar tourism experience, and works to attract investment for their development. 

Regulation efforts involve ensuring tourism sector establishments operate at the highest standards while perpetuating Qatar’s culture.

QTA promotes Qatar as a destination around the world, through its destination branding, international representation and participation at trade shows, and by developing a rich calendar of festivals and events. With a growing international presence, QTA’s representative offices in London, Paris, Berlin, Milan, Singapore, and Riyadh support QTA’s promotion efforts. 

Since launching QNTSS, Qatar has welcomed over 7 million visitors, and achieved an average annual growth in arrivals of 11.5% between 2010-2015. The economic impact of the tourism sector in Qatar is becoming increasingly visible with 2014 estimates showing a total impact on Qatar’s total GDP of 4.1%.

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Facts & Figures 

Tourism in Qatar :

  • Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) works in partnership with the public and private sectors to plan, regulate and promote a sustainable tourism sector in Qatar. 
  • Qatar’s leadership has designated tourism a priority sector in the nation’s efforts to diversify its economy in pursuit of Qatar National Vision 2030 - such is the importance of tourism.
  • QTA projects that the tourism sector’s total contribution to the country’s total economy will reach 5.2% by 2030, and up to 9.7% of Qatar’s non-hydro-carbon economy. 
  • According to the UNWTO, Qatar is one of the fastest growing destinations in the world, and the only country in the Middle East to achieve consistent growth over a decade. Between 2010 and 2015, tourism arrivals averaged 11.5% annual growth
  • Initial estimates of the sector’s impact on the national economy suggest that tourism directly contributed 13.6 billion QAR to the country’s GDP in 2013, and 4.1% of the total economy in 2014. 
  • It is estimated that the tourism sector currently provides close to 76,000 jobs in Qatar.
  • 20 new hotel establishments opened in 2015, bringing the total number of hotel rooms in Qatar to 20,000 (98 hotels, 21 hotel apartments). 
  • By the end of 2016, 44 hotels are expected to open in 2-,3-,4- and 5-star segment.

Qatar Business Events 

  • Qatar’s tourism strategy seeks to triple the number of business events tourists by 2030, contributing at least half of the country’s revenue from tourism spending. 
  • Between 2013 and 2015, Qatar’s growth in the number of exhibitions averaged 35%
  • In 2016, it is expected to grow further by 5%, with 58 shows on the calendar covering a myriad of fields, including jewelry and watches, education and technology, manufacturing, food and even coffee. 
  • Qatar’s business events tourism sector is set for success with: 
  1. Growing event management services.
  2. Exhibition capacity of 70,000 square metres, including world-class venues such as Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) and the recently opened Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC).
  3. An expanded transport network. 
  4. Exceptional accessibility via the award-winning national carrier, Qatar Airways, which connects Doha to 150 destinations worldwide. 

Cruise Tourism

  • The Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 (QNTSS) identifies the cruise industry as a focus area in coming years, with the outlook for Qatar to become an emerging cruise destination exceptionally bright.
  • The GCC is among the top three cruise destinations worldwide during the winter months, offering tremendous opportunity for Qatar’s tourism sector and overall economy. 
  • 30 ships have registered to dock in Qatar from October 2016 – End of April 2017.
  • In 2016 QTA signed an agreement with TUI cruises to bring 7 ships to Qatar’s ports in the 2017/18 season. Further discussions with other major cruise line operators are expected to lead to:
  1. 55,000 expected visitors in 2016/17 season
  2. 132,000 expected visitors in 2017/18 season
  3. 250,000 expected visitors in 2018/19 season
  • In 2016, QTA began working with Qatar Ports Management Company ‘Mwani’ on The Doha Port Renewal Project, which aims to build an important tourist attraction and permanent cruise terminal at the heart of Doha. 

Timeline of Milestones 

December 2013 - Launch of #MyQatar, a nationwide campaign that asks the people of Qatar to share what they cherish most about the country; kick-starting the process of developing Qatar’s first destination brand. 

February 2014 - Launch of Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030, which charts a pathway for developing a sustainable tourism sector and increasing its contribution to the national GDP. 

May 2014 - Hamad International Airport formally opens, with an initial capacity of 30 million passengers. 

February 2015 – QTA signs MoU with Qatar Development Bank and Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC) to launch first specalised incubator for tourism start-ups and scale-ups.  

May 2015 - Qatar hosts first meeting between undersecretaries of tourism ministers and authorities in the Gulf Cooperation Council. 

September 2015 - Qatar wins right to host official UNWTO World Tourism Day 2017 celebrations. 

October 2015 – Doha Exhibition and Convention Center opens its doors, adding 29,000 m2 to Qatar’s Business Events infrastructure.   

November 2015 - Qatar’s first destination brand is unveiled at World Travel Market, London, accelerating efforts to promote the country as a premium destination.

November 2015 - Island Sky, a Noble Caledonia ship, becomes the first to dock in the Old Doha Port as part of the Cruise Arabia Alliance.

January 2016 – QTA introduces a new grading and classification system for hotels, which, among other new categories, will include an environmental sustainability element.

April 2016 – Qatar’s hospitality sector tops GCC in Guest Experience Index in the Middle East report, published by Olery 

Qatar’s Tourism Sector - Upcoming Developments 

National Museum of Qatar, is currently being built will focus on exhibits that highlight Qatar’s heritage and history, and will also feature a 2,200-seat auditorium and a park filled with indigenous plants.

Doha Metro, is to help ease transportation around the capital. With four lines extending across more than 300 kilometres of track – and incorporating no less than 98 different stations – it’s a major undertaking that stands to revolutionize the city’s public transport. The first phase is currently scheduled to be up and running by 2019, with completion of the whole network earmarked for 2026.

Msheireb, is A QAR20 billion development which will revive the old commercial heart of the city through a new architectural language that is based on community living.  

Msheireb Museums opened in 2015 as part of the ongoing redevelopment of the nation’s downtown Msheireb district, and includes four historical buildings that have been restored into museums charting the changing face of Qatar.

Mall of Qatar is scheduled to open at the end of 2016. At the size of 50 football pitches, it will be the nation’s largest mall, and will offer more than 500 stores, over 100 food and beverage outlets, a 5-star luxury hotel (part of the Curio Collection by Hilton), and an impressive array of unique entertainment experiences. 

Salwa Beach Resort is scheduled to open in 2016, is set to become the Middle East's premiere destination beach resort, located on three million square metres of prime coastline in the southwest corner of Qatar less than 100 kilometres from Doha. With sweeping views of the Arabian Gulf, this ambitious 362-key property will feature 3 kilometres of private beach, a themed water park, a dive centre, cinemas, a shopping mall, an Arabian village, a 2,800 square metre spa and health club.

Doha Festival City, one of the Middle East's largest leisure and entertainment destinations, is scheduled to open in 2017. Doha Festival City Mall will feature over 550 shops, including more than 100 fine and casual dining restaurants, cafes and food court outlets through a carefully balanced selection of international and local brands. Its state-of-the-art indoor-outdoor entertainment zone will boast a number of exciting attractions for children and adults alike, making Doha Festival City an ideal day-out destination for the whole family.

Place Vendome will be located in the newly-built Lusail City. The QAR 4.4 billion retail and hospitality development will house some of the world’s most renowned retail fashion stores and deluxe hotels such as the Ritz Carlton. The architecture has been conceptualised to reflect the luxury and extravagance of the famous Parisian lane Rue de la Paix, of which Place Vendôme, Paris is the starting point. 

Qatar Olympics & Sports Museum, will be a national institution for sports history and sports heritage. On the one hand it aims to preserve, store, investigate and exhibit sports and sports objects of Qatar and the Arab world. On the other hand the museum deals with the inclusion of Qatar in the international sports community and the positioning of Qatar as a host for international sports events. 

Lusail City, extends across an area of 38 square kilometres and includes four exclusive islands and 19 multi-purpose residential, mixed use, entertainment and commercial districts. It is a comprehensive arena with leisure spots, residential buildings, twelve five-star hotels, commercial towers, avenues and public Marinas. The city of the future, which has already welcomed thousands of residents and government employees, will eventually accommodate 200,000 residents and 170,000 employees, as well as over 80,000 visitors. 

Annual Events 


Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) is a multicultural festival which celebrates the country’s diverse food, beverage and hospitality offerings. The first festival was organised in 2010 as part of Qatar’s strategy to grow and diversify its tourism offerings in partnership with the private sector. 

Eid Celebrations in Qatar are held twice a year, during the Islamic holidays of Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. The celebrations offer family-friendly entertainment in a festive atmosphere that showcases Qatar’s culture and heritage. 

Qatar Summer Festival (QSF) is held every year with the tagline “Colour Your Summer.” The annual, month-long Festival is held in August. It targets visitors from around the GCC with a range of attractive packages and cultural events designed for families in a festive environment that reflects their culture and heritage. 

Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition (DJWE) is one of the most notable events on the regional calendar de luxe. Every year, DJWE reveals a range of unique pieces designed especially for the show by top jewellery and watch brands, in addition to on-the-spot gem assessment and workshops for enthusiasts. 

Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition (Heya) is Qatar’s leading fashion exhibition, held twice a year to enable visitors to stay abreast of the latest exquisite designs in the world of Arabian and Islamic fashion. Heya features modern designs inspired by Arabian tradition, with a full range of abayas, kaftans, veils, jalabiyas, shaylas, and evening gowns from over 250 talented designers based in Qatar and the Gulf region.

Qatar Motor Show (QMS) is a key motoring event in the Middle East for car lovers and trade professionals. QMS brings together leading international carmakers to exhibit the top sports, luxury and mid-range automobiles.