Qatar has firmly put itself on the global stage with its successful bid to host the FIFA World Cup. “Qatar 2022”.
This has catapulted the country to high prominence within the sporting events category. The country can use the Qatar 2022 World cup to provide a timeline to a massive infrastructure development program. It will see Qatar become the most advanced in the Gulf region if not the in the World
The investment program to support the development is second to none. Whilst the World Cup provides a timeline for completion of many projects, the country has also focused on the broader MICE industry over recent years.
The Qatar Tourism Authority has developed strategies to encourage international events in Qatar with some success. The QTA is now devising a new strategy to take things to the next level.
To date, Qatar has focused on International Sporting, Petrochemical and United Nations events. Also hosting the Asian Games, World Cycling Championships, World Handball Championships, The World petroleum congress and the UN global warming event – Cop 18.
Qatar has similar Arabic cultural activities (such as Dubai). Including: Dune bashing, camping and maritime; it is not as liberal as Dubai. It is believed to be predominantly looking to business tourism from Islamic countries.
Qatar’s key areas are believed to be Sports, Medical and Education and the country has some amazing Sports facilities, including; The Aspire Zone
Coming on stream soon are two major medical facilities Sidra Hospital and Hamad Medical. Both have excellent facilities, with state of the art equipment and world-renowned medical staff.
The long established and well-respected Education City is home to a large number of high-ranking international Universities. All of these facilities bring a wealth of knowledge and the wish to share that knowledge globally. Qatar Foundation who oversee Education City have established two major world events in WISH (World Innovation Summit Health) and WISE (World Innovation Summit Education)
Unlike Dubai, Qatar is spoilt for choice with a number of venues able to accommodate all types of MICE activity. From the Qatar National Convention Centre, The Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, The Doha Exhibition Centre, The Sheraton Exhibition Centre, The Aspire Zone, The Doha Opera House, Katara Conference Centre, The Katara Amphitheatre and many quality hotels that offer MICE venues.
The events industry is still maturing in Qatar as the country grows and develops its business tourism offering and support services.
The country has limited support services in relation to Freelance events staff. This is due to its complex visa and work permit system. Ultimately making it more expensive to stage events because freelance production managers, event mangers, and site management staff are brought in from abroad.
Events such as COP 18 used freelance staff from across the globe in all areas such as Health and safety, technical production staff, event mangers and logistics support.
In time it is expected that changes in the visa/work permit system will take place. This will no doubt improve the availability of independent event staff because the limited number there are (mostly in Dubai) cannot service the whole region.
Qatar is definitely the one to watch in the coming years. Mostly because the venues and their facilities are of an amazingly high quality. They are designed extremely well, coupled with ongoing infrastructure improvements. Qatar is highly likely to take over the crown from Dubai in the near future; culminating in a memorable World cup in 2022.