Published on : Saturday, November 20, 2021
High optimism abounds for a rebound in global travel and tourism at the inaugural Qatar Travel Mart (QTM) 2021 which was held between November (16-18) under the patronage of the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior H E Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani and inaugurated by the Minister of Commerce and Industry H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Abdullah Al Thani.
The opening ceremony for the three-day event, which is being organised by NeXTfairs for Exhibitions and Conferences was also attended by Chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive H E Akbar Al Baker, the Co-Founder and General Manager of NeXTfairs Rawad Sleem, in addition to more than 70 high-level VIPs including 18 Ambassadors, prominent executives and top country delegations at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC).
The first day of the QTM 2021 Conference started with a keynote speech by Al Baker on “The Importance of Tourism for the Qatar National Vision 2030 and The Developments and Remarks in Qatar”, which was followed by a speech from the Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Museums Ahmad Musa Al Namla.
Globally, travel and tourism has been through its worst crisis. The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that the global travel sector has lost almost $4.5 trillion in 2020 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also speaking during the event, Indonesian Ambassador to Qatar H E Ridwan Hassan reiterated that Indonesia is now gradually reopening Bali to tourists with certain conditions. He added that the possibility of resuming Qatar Airways flights to Bali are also being considered.
With regards to leisure travel, Qatar has the potential to become a leading destination for leisure travel, said Dr. Cristina Ortega Nuere, Chief Scientific and Operating Officer for the World Leisure Organization.
She said that Qatar is implementing many policies to become a leading country in terms of leisure. In the last two decades, most cities that want to attract tourists are developing events like sports and games, and also opening new venues like museums, auditoriums or stadiums involved in sports.
For Rick Enders, Cluster General Manager at JW Marriott Marquis City Center Doha, while COVID restrictions are easing, the use of face masks may continue for the next two years.
QTM 2021 features 34 regional and international countries and 150 exhibitors from across the world.
Earlier, a VIP tour of all the major stands and country pavilions was conducted following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, with the Minister ceremoniously cutting a cake at Katara Hospitality’s stand.
Vice Chairman of Al Hattab Holding Abdulaziz Saad Al Kaabi, and Acting Chief Executive Officer of Katara Hospitality Andrew Humphries were also present during the event, in addition to the 18 country Ambassadors and representatives from Germany, Tanzania, Spain, Korea, Egypt, Mexico, Tajikistan, Thailand, Japan, Dominican Republic, Republic of Haiti, Srilanka, Switzerland, Italy, India, Indonesia, Rwanda, and Azerbaijan.
QTM’s Founding Partner is Katara Hospitality, Qatar Tourism as Strategic Partner, Qatar Airways Holidays the Founding Leisure Partner along with Discover Qatar.
The Supreme Committee is the Founding Sports Partner, Qatar Airways as the Official Airline and Mowasalat the Official Transport Partner. Amadeus is the event’s Technology Partner, Retaj Hotels & Hospitality the Gold Sponsor and Gulf Adventures and Elite Motors are Silver Sponsors. Association Partners also include The World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Training (AMFORHT), World Leisure Organisation (WLO), and World Tourism Association for Culture & Heritage (WTACH).