QTA Chairman Issa Al Mohannadi (left) and UNWTO Secretary-General Dr Taleb Rifai at the signing of the second phase of cooperation agreement in Doha yesterday. Salim Matramkot
DOHA: Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has signed a cooperation agreement with the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) for the second and third phases of tourism sector development.
“This is in continuation of an agreement we signed earlier in which QTA developed the National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030. They have agreed with us at UNWTO to have them implemented and it is being done in three phases. We have finished phase one, we are combining phases two and three and we have just signed the agreement for the two phases, which when completed and implemented, would have a great impact on implementation of the strategy,” UNWTO Secretary-General, Dr Taleb Rifai, told a press conference to launch the second phase on Monday.
The agreement for the first phase was signed in mid-2013 and aimed at developing necessary policies, regulations and strategies to take Qatar’s tourism industry into the future.
To be implemented in 14 months, the new agreement will focus on three important pillars of tourism sector development, according to Amr Abdel-Ghaffar, UNWTO Regional Director for the Middle East.
“One is on product development and investment promotion, second is human resource development which includes education and training and third is on nine areas of empowering abilities of QTA officials to measure movements and economic impact of the tourism sector,” explained Abdel-Ghaffar.
“QTA is exerting efforts to make Qatar a leading tourist destination and develop world-class standards for local tourism.
“The launch of the second phase of the agreement demonstrates our cooperation with local and foreign stakeholders to develop the tourism sector.
“Our efforts are based on the National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030, which will guide us to build a mature and sustainable tourism industry,” said QTA Chairman Issa bin Mohammed Al Mohannadi.
“The second phase of the agreement covers crucial aspects such as entry visas, regional development programmes and training and technical support for tour operators.
“It also covers tourism marketing, promotion and management; training programmes for QTA employees in cooperation with UNWTO; and development of a tourism statistics system to develop data collection mechanisms that will better reflect the sector’s development in the coming years,” added Al Mohannadi.
QTA and UNWTO will work together to update and develop processes based on the highest international standards and within the framework of laws and benchmarks, and prepare rules for tourism products and services.
A policy framework and sustainability index tools will also be provided.
Fresh guidelines on policies will be issued and new laws relating to investment in Qatar’s tourism sector implemented.