In an effort to increase awareness of Qatar’s tourism offering among international travel trade, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) hosted numerous familiarisation visits for travel professionals, including tour operators, travel agents and travel media, from various global markets.

So far this year, three hundred and fifty travel professionals from the US, Italy, Finland, and the United Kingdom have visited Qatar on ‘mega-fam trips’, ensuring they receive first-hand and authentic destination experience.  The Finnish group visited Qatar during the annual congress for the Association of Finnish Travel Agents, bringing 100 business and leisure travel agents and tour operators to the country.

These initiatives have evolved from extensive promotional efforts during 2016, which saw QTA hold 76 workshops and roadshows in key priority markets. Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA said they are delighted to see even greater interest in Qatar as a tourist destination, after completing an extensive outreach programme in 2016.

We are particularly pleased to receive a request from the Association of Finnish Travel Agents, as we have not targeted Finland previously. This shows that the prominence of the Qatar destination brand is resonating in secondary markets, and travellers from an increasing number of countries are expressing curiosity about what Qatar offers.’

Al Ibrahim added that QTA is focusing on promoting new policy developments which will make visiting Qatar easier.  This includes the introduction of the free 96-hour transit visa, available to passengers travelling on Qatar Airways and transiting through Hamad International Airport for a minimum of 5 hours.

During the final quarter of 2017, QTA will host 40 prominent tour operators, travel agents and media from Germany, along with media personnel and planners specialising in MICE tourism from various key global markets.

Engaging with travel trade helps increase visitor interest in Qatar by increasing the number of tour operators that sell holiday packages to the country. In 2016 the number of tour operators selling Qatar to travellers increased by 21.6%. In the same year, QTA opened three representative offices abroad – in Italy, the US and Turkey. The offices joined others in QTA’s international network in France, the UK, Germany, Saudi Arabia and South East Asia.

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