Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) officials return this week from Qatar Germany Business and Investment Forum, held under the patronage of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, after a successful participation that witnessed the birth of several partnerships that will boost Qatar’s reach in German-speaking and European markets.

QTA Acting Chairman showcased the importance of the German market to Qatar during the panel ‘Tourism, Health and Sport: The Road to 2022’, explaining that Germany is an important visitor source market for Qatar, and is showing steady growth, particularly in stop over and transit visitors. In the first eight months of 2018, Qatar saw a 42% increase in German visitors compared to the same period last year.

We are delighted to have participated in this Forum, which provided an important platform for us to strengthen ties with key German stakeholders in the fields of tourism and investment. QTA and its local and international partners have succeeded in establishing a presence for Qatar in the German-speaking markets over the past few years, and we are on track to become a preferred winter vacation destination for tourists from this region.’

AIDA and Costa: New Partnerships Promise Bright Future for Cruise Tourism

MoU signing with the German AIDA & the Italian Costa CruisesA highlight of the Forum on the tourism front was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the German AIDA Cruises and the Italian Costa Cruises.

Through the MoU, QTA and the cruise liners will team up to help develop cruise tourism in Qatar. This also includes the possibility of cooperation to build attractive packages and special services dedicated to Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises guests, in addition to joint communications, co-marketing actions and familiarisation trips.

The initiative will focus on Doha, which already provides a state-of-the-art cruise terminal, and aims at building a strong relationship between the cruise lines and Qatar in advance of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

In addition, Costa Mediterranea will inaugurate Costa’s presence in Qatar with one call set on 6 March 2019, while the fleet flagship Costa Diadema will offer 16 calls to Doha during her seven-days 2019/2020 winter programme. The luxury AIDAprima is holding port bookings for eight calls in Doha during the 2018/19 season and will make several more calls in the 2019/2020 season. Between them, the two cruise lines will potentially bring up to 45,000 passengers in the coming season.

2019 World Corporate Games in Doha 

The Forum also witnessed a joint announcement by QTA and Sports for Life, organisers of the World Corporate Games, that the 2019 edition will be held in Qatar under the slogan ‘Qatar, where the World comes to compete’. The 23rd edition is set in November and will be the first edition to take place in the Middle East.

Leveraging the Forum’s platform, QTA extended an invitation to German industry and business leaders to have their teams join the world’s largest multi-sports festival.

QTA Chief Marketing and Promotion Officer Rashed Al Qurese said that Sports Tourism is one of the six focus areas of the Next Chapter of the National Tourism Sector Strategy that they seek to develop. He said that the hosting of mass participation events such as the World Corporate Games supports the country’s goals in developing a vibrant sports and recreation tourism sub-sector in Qatar, in addition to helping the state tap in to business tourism opportunities.

The World Corporate Games take place every one to two years and the last edition was held in Houston, Texas in 2017. The Qatar edition is expected to attract 5,000 participants.

Dr Maureen Johnston, Founder of the World Corporate Games said they are delighted to be bringing the Games to Doha in 2019.

Doha is a phenomenal global capital of sport, having hosted many elite world championships in Handball, Para-Athletics Boxing, with many others still to come. We are proud to be joining the likes of these outstanding events, and opening up a competitive and fun global competition to the business community in the region for the first time.’

Strengthening Ties with German Tourism Partners

Finally, QTA officials met with DER Touristik Deutschland to explore ways of further boosting awareness of Qatar as a tourism destination and attracting more visitors.

The two parties had recently signed a partnership through which DER Touristik will considerably expand the portfolio of its tour operator brands Dertour and Meier’s Weltreisen Qatar offers for the 2018/19 winter season: the existing day trip offer is being complemented by multi-day tours and the accommodation options on offer will increase to include a total of 14 hotels.

On the sidelines of the Forum, QTA also met with existing partners TUI Cruises and Thomas Cook. Qatar is a six-hour flight from Germany, making it an attractive stopover destination for travellers heading farther East.

QTA’s representative office in Munich opened in 2015, and promotes Qatar as a destination in German-speaking markets. In addition, QTA’s management regularly attends major trade shows for both leisure and business travel (IMEX Frankfurt, ITB Berlin) and holds regular meetings in Hamburg with cruise executives to ensure they are aware of the country’s cruise offering.

For updates and more information about QTA, check out their website at