Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and Welcome Chinese, the only official overseas hospitality certification programme recognised by the Chinese government, have begun a collaboration that will empower the hospitality, tourism and retail sectors in Qatar to meet the requirements of Chinese tourists.
Members of those sectors, as well as representatives of the transport and culture sectors, recently attended sessions organised by QTA and Welcome Chinese officials to discuss the requirements of Chinese visitors, the standards for certification, and the certification process. Industry members were also presented with the training, technical assistance and marketing assistance that Welcome Chinese offers to its certified members across the travel and tourism value chain.
Qatar was granted Approved Destination Status (ADS) in China last month, allowing it to receive tourist groups from China and to promote Qatar as a tourism destination within China. The ADS system seeks to guarantee safe and reliable tourism services for Chinese customers, from both local travel agencies and international tour operators. Welcome Chinese helps to ensure that tourism industry members within countries that have ADS are individually prepared and positioned to attract and receive Chinese visitors.
The Welcome Chinese Certification is issued by the China Tourism Academy, an arm of the Chinese National Tourism Administration. To be certified, hotels should be able to provide access to Chinese TV and newspapers, and for a higher-tiered certification, a Chinese option on the breakfast menu. Destination management companies should be able to offer Mandarin-speaking tour guides, as well as invoices and itineraries in Mandarin. All establishments are required to provide free WiFi, hot water (for Chinese tea), and the ability for Chinese guests to pay for products and services with UnionPay, the Chinese-approved payment processor.
Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA said that after securing ADS for Qatar as a destination, they are working with individual members of the industry to ensure they are ‘China-ready’ and can tap into the largest outbound tourism market in the world.
The Welcome Chinese Certification Programme provides our industry members with abundant opportunities for business development, helping us to ensure the sustainable growth of the tourism sector.’
Welcome Chinese President Jacopo Sertoli said that Qatar presents exciting opportunities for Chinese visitors.
The destination is already seeing heightened interest from current and prospective Chinese tourists, and we look forward to working with members of the industry in Qatar to ensure more establishments are Certified and ready within the coming months to welcome guests from China.’
Al Ibrahim added that several industry members are already receiving Chinese tourists and are expected to receive their certification before the end of the year.
Thanks to a robust economy and an increasingly open tourism policy, the Chinese outbound tourism market has been the largest in the world since 2012, with the growth expected to continue. Qatar is primed to tap into this market following a decision to grant Chinese nationals visa-free entry. In addition, Qatar Airways – the national carrier – offers direct flights to and from six destinations in mainland China.
To promote Qatar offerings and ease of access, QTA has opened representative offices in China, with headquarters in Beijing, and supporting locations in Shanghai and Guangzhou.
For more information about the QTA-Welcome Chinese collaboration, visit their website at visitqatar.qa.