Tourism workshop concludes

May 16, 2014 - 5:02:53 am
Qatar Tourism Authority Chairman Issa Mohammed Al Mohannadi presenting a certificate and memento to one of the participants at closing ceremony held at the Al Mirqab Hotel in Souq Waqif yesterday. Baher Amin

DOHA: Thirty-six participants from 10 countries yesterday completed the UNWTO Regional Capacity Building Course on Tourism Strategy organised by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and UNWTO THEMIS Foundation.

The five-day regional workshop held at Al Mirqab Souq Waqif Boutique Hotel provided the participants skills needed for building successful destination tourism strategies.

Hassan Al Ibrahim, Director of Strategy Development and the Head of the Tourism Industry Development Committee at QTA, said the workshop was part of the QTA’s Tourism Strategy.

“This initiative is one of those we have launched in the field of developing human capital, which is one of the most important factors in the implementation of the strategy. This initiative also comes as an implementation of the second phase of the agreement we have signed with the UNWTO in February. We will hopefully be organising more courses before the end of the year and every quarter next year,” said Al Ibrahim.

A vital element of the workshop was excursions to existing and potential tourist destinations in Qatar to assess their potential for growth.

Divided into three groups, the participants visited potential tourist attractions in the country including Zekreet, Al Zubarah, and villages and forts in the Northern part of Qatar.

“They visited these sites to propose some policy recommendations and product development recommendations, which they shared in the final session today and definitely we’ll try as much as possible to integrate their creative and innovative ideas in our plans moving forward to the future,” added Al Ibrahim.

Omar Valdez, Executive Director of UNWTO Themis Foundation, described the course a complete success with very good participation from Qatar and the Mena region as well as experts from Hungary and the UK, “making the course an international forum for discussion on tourism and policy and strategy.”

“The UNWTO has already organised a few courses in the past but this is the first one in a series of courses that would come in the near future, within the framework of collaboration with QTA and UNWTO,” said Valdez. He said there will be two more courses this year; one in September on “Tourism Product Development” and another in December which will focus on “Investment and Public and Private Partnership.”

“Our plan is to continue delivering educational and training activities to all UNWTO member states in this region and around the world, because this is one of the best ways to improve competitiveness and sustainability in our member states.”

This initiative is just one of the many initiatives of QTA along developing human capital building capacities in the sector. Another important initiative Al Ibrahim mentioned was the Tour Guide programme, in which QTA has collaborated with Stenden University Qatar.

The first batch under this programme has already graduated. This programme focuses on Qatari candidates to attract them to the sector and the tour guide job, one of the most important jobs in the sector, he added.

“We will also be targeting the public and private sectors moving forward in the future with some of these initiatives,” he said.

The Peninsula