Interview: Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani

Where do you identify the main opportunities in the tourism sector as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic?

SHEIKH FAISAL BIN QASSIM AL THANI: As the tourism sector recovers from the pandemic, there are many opportunities ahead. Qatar’s development over the last two decades has made it an international player. The government developed the infrastructure to support the sector, including Hamad International Airport, Hamad Port and the Doha Metro. In addition, a number of projects are under way to promote different tourism segments, such as recreation, medical, sport and business, among others. Qatar also benefits from its geographic location, and its reputation for safety and security. Taken together, these factors create opportunities for expansion and attract investors who can develop innovative projects that enhance tourists’ experience in Qatar.

The sector is also an important contributor to entrepreneurship and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. This is especially notable because these entities are the main source of innovation and job creation in our economy.

Which segments can be further developed in order to enhance Qatar’s reputation as a destination for tourism and culture?

AL THANI: Investing in the digital transformation of the tourism sector and keeping pace with the latest technological developments to meet the needs of the modern traveller will be key to promoting tourism going forwards. Digitalisation in the fields of travel, aviation and tourism will generate significant value added. The importance of digital transformation can be seen in changing market dynamics, and in the evolving skills required to succeed in the industry.

Hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup will be a once in-a-lifetime opportunity to innovate and expand investment in and beyond Qatar. The country already has a strong investment environment, modern infrastructure, and high levels of efficiency and security. Each of these factors enhance Qatar’s position as a destination for tourism investment.

What is the role of the tourism sector in job creation, and how can private enterprises contribute to developing human capital?

AL THANI: Over recent decades tourism has become one of the most dynamic industries in the world. It has emerged as a significant source of job creation, an effective means to promote economic development, and a vehicle to spread culture through experience and discovery. Employees are offered training and development opportunities to ensure they are well equipped to meet the needs of modern tourists, helping to maintain Qatar’s position as a leading destination. The industry also has an important role to play in attracting investment, which in turn provides further job opportunities. The private sector, with its resources and experience, has the ability to develop human capital and provide younger generations with the practical experience they need for the evolving job market.

How do you view the role of tourism in strengthening Qatar’s international image?

AL THANI: The tourism sector has the ability to promote Qatar’s intellectual and cultural treasures, and its unique Arab heritage. Local operators have an important role in developing tourism infrastructure and offerings, which supports economic diversification – one of the most important objectives of Qatar National Vision 2030. In recent years the private sector has flourished, with many prominent international operators now active in Qatar. The private sector has been playing a pivotal role in the local hospitality sector, and coordination between these entities and government is vital to future expansion.