21 Apr 2018 – 10:08

Qatar a rising star location for business meetings, says report

The Peninsula

DOHA: Qatar is a rising star location for planners for hosting business meetings and corporate events.

A recent report published in South China Morning Post with headline “Qatar and Austria are rising star locations for business visitors from Asia” suggests that “the two long-haul destinations rank highly with planners as locations for hosting business meetings and corporate events.”

qatar airways

Event planners in Asia are increasingly looking beyond the region for hosting their business meetings and corporate events. With more airlines to choose from and lower travel costs than ever before, hosting an event at a long-haul destination is no longer considered a luxury, it adds.

With the increase in visitors from Asia in recent years, some of the global meetings, incentives, conventions, exhibitions (MICE) destinations have redirected their focus from US and European markets to Asia for growth.

Among them, Qatar in the Middle East and Austria in Europe have become more prominent with their improved tourism infrastructures and marketing efforts, the report says.

In Qatar, business events have seen an average annual growth rate of 36 percent over the past five years. “Qatar is taking steady steps towards positioning the country as an attractive destination for business events in the region by capitalising on its easy access, growing event management services, and expanded exhibition capacity and transport network,” says Ahmed Al Obaidli, Director of Exhibitions, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) according to South China Morning Post.

He says the authority is focusing on attracting MICE events that match Qatar’s existing growth sectors, thus creating a more enriching MICE experience for business visitors while making significant contributions to the country’s economy and intellectual landscapes.

“We realise that Qatar is an emerging MICE destination and so, we are currently in the awareness-building phase. To generate interest, we regularly participate at the world’s leading trade shows as well as invite buyers and media to experience Qatar’s tourism and MICE offerings first-hand while helping to shape our country’s offerings through their meetings with local stakeholders,” Al Obaidli says. “While we have been mostly focused on Europe and the US, new markets we are keen on in 2018 include China and India. And, looking ahead to 2019, we are looking to further develop incentive and corporate meetings offerings,” he adds.

According to Al Obaidli, Qatar offers a wide range of authentic experiences, including museums, galleries, public art installations, archaeological sites, forts and towers in addition to a variety of city and desert tours.

“Depending on how much time the visiting MICE groups have to spend, they have the option of quick Doha city discovery tours aboard a hop-on-hop-off bus or 45 minutes in a helicopter,” he says. “Those opting to experience the country’s seafaring heritage can cruise the city’s shoreline aboard a traditional wooden Qatari dhow boat.”

Qatar has some of the world’s most sophisticated convention and exhibition facilities. The Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) features a multipurpose 4,000-seat conference hall, 2,300-seat theatre, and three auditoria and a number of meeting spaces. The centre offers 40,000 square metres of column-free exhibition space over nine halls, which can provide seating for up to 10,000 delegates.

Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC) is located in the centre of Doha’s commercial district. Opened in 2015, it covers an area of 90,000 square metres to include five vast, pillarless halls, capable of seating over 34,000 visitors. Its 18-metre-high ceiling is the highest in the Middle East.

Qatar’s rich cultural and heritage sites also provide unique venues for business events. These include the Museum of Islamic Art, Msheireb and Katara Cultural Village which are equipped with state-of-the-art meetings facilities.