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Global experts to headline Qatar’s international tourism and hospitality conference

February 5, 2014 6:38 am

World experts in tourism, hospitality, major event coordination and sustainable development will headline Qatar’s international tourism conference Tourism in Tomorrow’s Word: what the future holds for tourism in the region, when it launches in Doha on 23rd February. The forum will be under the patronage of the Prime Minister HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and is in partnership with the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).

The conference, which will become an annual event, will feature Eng. Issa Al Mohannadi, Chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) who will outline the strategy for the development of Qatar as a tourism destination in the coming years. Dr Taleb Rifai, Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), will deliver a keynote address on the need to develop tourism to international, sustainable standards. Meanwhile, the development of air transport capacity into Doha will be a subject addressed by Qatar Airways’ Chief Commercial Officer Marwan Koleilat.

Hosted by Stenden University Qatar (SUQ) in conjunction with Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company (ARTIC), part of Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al Thani’s Al Faisal Holding Group, and the European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI), the dynamic two-day conference, held at Renaissance Doha City Center Hotel, will attract leading decision makers in hospitality, tourism, business and government as well as major travel and tour operators and tourism research academic from the region and internationally.

It will underline the importance of tourism for Qatar and the Gulf, focusing on Qatar’s recent growth as a regional tourism hub – with 81 hotels built and another 110 under construction, and 127,000 hospitality jobs in Qatar predicted by 2030 – and showcasing its authentic culture, identity and heritage, with a focus on sustainability.

Academic expert speakers will include Leendert Klasasen, President of Stenden University of Applied Sciences in The Netherlands and Professor Robert Coelen, Executive Dean of Stenden University Qatar, who will outline SUQ’s motivation for hosting the conference.

Professor Ian Yeoman of the European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI) will address the issue of the future of tourism globally citing the latest forecast developments, while Professor John Ap, Associate Dean of Stenden University Qatar, will present on the behavior of the tourist of the future – looking at key emerging tourism trends in Qatar and for the wider Gulf region. International experts on hosting major world events will talk about their experiences of ensuring such events are organized sustainably and deliver a lasting legacy. Professor Miguel De Moragas, Professor of Communications and Dean of Faculty of Communications Sciences Research at the University of Barcelona in Spain, will examine lessons learned from Post-Olympic Barcelona, while the future of major event tourism will be examined by Dr Martin Robertson from Victoria University, Australia.

With Qatar’s plans to develop six major amusement parks in the pipeline, the conference will feature Gurjit Singh, Chief Development Officer of Abu Dhabi-based Aldar Properties, to talk about his experience spearheading the development of major theme parks such as the highly successful Sentosa Island in Singapore and Yas Island in the UAE in a discussion entitled “destination development: creating economic multipliers through tourism, theme parks and attractions”.

Sumathi Ramanathan, Regional General Manager of VisitBritain, will discuss London’s experiences hosting the Olympic games in 2012. Mark Wynne-Smith, Global CEO of Jones, Lang La Salle, Hotels and Hospitality Group, will look at global investments in the hotel industry, while the issue of successfully delivering hospitality globally will be addressed by Scott Woroch, Executive Vice President of Worldwide Development at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts.

Conference host Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani will welcome experts and delegates, and students from Stenden University Qatar, the region’s leading international professional hospitality, tourism and business management college, will play a key role in the conference as volunteers working as ambassadors throughout the event, as well as participating in panel discussions.

Hassan Al-Ibrahim, the Director of Strategy Development and the head of the tourism development committee at the QTA, said: “QTA’s strategic priorities include developing the tourism sector through stakeholder engagement and inclusion while focusing on sustainability and authenticity as key elements in Qatar’s appeal to visitors. To implement and realise the national tourism strategy 2030, we have developed a strong relationship with Stenden University through various initiatives. We are committed to human capital development in this sector to deliver a tourism experience that meets international standards.”

He added: “With the amount of hotels and tourism products and services currently under development, Qatar’s hospitality industry can offer young people a range of job opportunities in Qatar and throughout the world that will provide them with meaningful careers for life.”

Professor Robert Coelen, Executive Dean of Stenden University Qatar, said: “This conference – the first of its kind in the region – comes at a critical time, as Qatar is investing heavily in providing a high-quality family tourism experience which will undoubtedly make it an appealing tourist hub in the coming years. We are delighted to welcome so many international experts as keynote speakers, to share their experiences, detailed knowledge and predictions for what trends we can expect and how we can best prepare for them in order to deliver world-class service.”

“Our successes will lie in close collaboration between government, business and the industry to establish rigorous standards of education for today’s students – our future leaders of global tourism and hospitality. At SUQ, we already have an unrivalled reputation and employment record. Through strong partnerships, we can extend this expertise to organisations across Qatar and internationally.”

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