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Mice Net : February 2009
qatar mAnAging growTh AnD TrADiTion WhilE thE coUntry of Qatar is undergoing a metamorphosis in terms of facilities and attractions it is sticking closely to its traditions. images courtesy of Qatar Tourism and Exhibition Authority A ccording to the Qatar Tourism and Exhibitions Authority, since gaining its independence in 1971, Qatar has leveraged its resources to build a modern and prosperous nation. Looking to diversify its economy, the government has earmarked US$130 billion for projects and initiatives across a broad spectrum of industries with tourism development part of its overall strategy. A government allocation of US$17 billion has been made for the tourism sector over the next five years, including the construction of luxury hotels, resorts and other leisure facilities. The goal is to increase hotel capacity from its current 7000 rooms to more than 29,000 by 2012. Already the signs are strong that meetings and incentives will play a big future in Qatar’s development. Opening in 2011 at a cost of about USD1.2 billion, and destined to be one of the Middle East’s largest convention and exhibition centres, is the Qatar National Convention Centre, with Australian Paul D’Arcy at the helm (see story page 170). The Qatar National Convention Centre will complement the already opened Doha Exhibition Centre, built at a cost of $65.9 million and offering 15,000 square metres of space, and the Doha Convention Centre & Tower which will offer a total capacity of 40,000 square metres of exhibition space. The tower has been designed by architect Helmut Jahn, famous for the Deutsche Post building in Bonn and the Sony Center in Berlin. It will soar approximately 112 stories into the sky and will offer panoramic city and water views from its prestigious location. Away from the meetings facilities, Qatar offers a wealth of historical and cultural pursuits, pristine beaches, stunning mosques, and great shopping. Following heavy investment in sports infrastructure it is fast becoming a mecca for world-class sporting events. In 2011 Qatar will host the AFC Asian Cup in the world’s first underground football stadium. ABOVE: Explore Qatar’s singing sand dunes mice.net 177 at a glance getting there Doha International Airport is the entry point into Qatar. Travellers from Australia have the option of getting to Qatar via Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Hong Kong or Dubai depending upon which airline they choose. Airlines servicing these routes include Etihad, Emirates, BA and Virgin Atlantic. Weather Year-round sunshine with temperatures ranging from 25 degrees C in winter up to 45 degrees C in summer. Visa requirements Visas on arrival are available to Australian tourists travelling to Qatar for a small fee (about AUD$30). Key contacts Qatar Tourism and Exhibitions Authority www.qatartourism.gov.qa Qatar alive with culture and tradition.