Qatar Travel Mart 2023 Kicks Off With A Distinguished Inauguration

Under the Patronage of His Excellency the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar Travel Mart (QTM) 2023, expertly organized by NeXTfairs for Exhibitions and Conferences, made a grand entrance with a prestigious Opening Ceremony featuring the exhibition’s inauguration by, His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Abdullah Al Thani, the Minister of Commerce and Industry.

This momentous event was held at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC) and graced by the presence of distinguished personalities, including , Sheikh Fasial bin Qassim Al Thani Chairman of Qatari Hotels Association and Qatari Businessmen Association, Mr. Saad Bin Ali Al Kharji, Chairman of Qatar Tourism, Mr. Nasser Matar AlKawari, CEO of Katara Hospitality, Salim Khalaf Al Manai, GCEO of QIC, Prof. Muzaffer Uysal, University of Massachusetts, H.E. Mrs. Latifa El Bouabdellaoui, Director General of ICDT, Mr. Ashraf Abuissa, Chairman of Abuissa holding, Mr. Abdulkarim Aldarwish, President of Saudi Tourism Authority and Mr. Rawad Sleem Co-Founder and General Manager, NeXTfairs (Exhibition Organizer), and  Mr. Abdul Aziz Bin Hattab Al Kaabi Vice Chairman of Al Hattab Holding Board of Directors.

The ceremony drew over 100 prominent VIPs, including ambassadors and delegates from 60 countries, such as H.E. Georges Bahsa Hazim, Ambassador of Dominican Republic Embassy, H.E. Guillermo Ordorica, Ambassador of Mexico, H.E. Feisel Aliyi Abrahim, Ambassador of Ethiopian Embassy, H.E. Mr. Ioannis Ioannidis, Ambassador of Greek Embassy, Ambassador of Italy H.E Mr. Paolo Toschi. Notable Tourism Boards, including St. Petersburg, South Korea, Seychelles, Thailand, Croatia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Almaty, Jordan, Lebanon and others were also in attendance.

The success of Qatar Travel Mart is indebted to the invaluable support of its esteemed sponsors and partners. Their roster of sponsors and partners are Strategic Partner Qatar Tourism; Title Sponsor: Saudi Tourism Authority-STA, Founding Partner Katara Hospitality; Event Supporters: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry; Official Airline Qatar Airways; Official Transport Mowasalat; Hospitality Partner Ezdan Palace; Platinum Sponsor Retaj Hotels and Hospitality; Official Destination Management Company Experience Qatar; and Association Partners: AMFORHT – The World Association for Hospitality Tourism Education and Training), World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage, WLO – The World Leisure Organization), and the Islamic Centre for Development and Trade. Together, they stand united in their mission to reshape the travel and tourism industry landscape.             

Following the Opening Ceremony and ribbon-cutting, a VIP tour of major stands and country pavilions at the QTM’s Global Village was conducted, marking the beginning of this remarkable event.

Speaking about Qatar Travel Mart 2023, Mr. Rawad Sleem, Co-Founder and General Manager of NeXTfairs for Exhibitions and Conferences, said: “I am delighted and honoured that Qatar Travel Mart receives the continued patronage of H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and the support and attendance of His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Abdullah Al Thani, Minister of Commerce and Industry and other VIPS.

He added: “This year’s event marks a momentous occasion for QTM with a 50% expansion in scale –– over 250 exhibitors, and 100 buyers from 60 countries converge to chart the course for Qatar’s thriving travel industry. From exclusive programs to a compelling agenda, QTM 2023 promises to ignite growth, celebrate achievements, and navigate the road to a sustainable tourism future post-World Cup.”

His Excellency, Mr. Saad Bin Ali Al Kharji, Chairman of Qatar Tourism, said: “Qatar Tourism is proud to be the strategic partner of Qatar Travel Mart, which sees more than 60 countries participating in its second edition. Qatar continues to offer unparalleled opportunity for exploration by global travellers and we look forward to showcasing the latest advancements made by our tourism industry over the next three days while collaborating with our valued partners to ensure the continued success and growth of our sector.”

According to Katara Hospitality, Qatar Travel Mart collectively paves the way for the future of hospitality, “As the Founding Partner, Katara Hospitality is proud to be part of the 2nd Edition of Qatar Travel Mart with over 50 participants representing Katara Hospitality’s assets across 12-countries. An exhibition that’s not only celebrates the future of hospitality but also provides a moment of reflection on the remarkable journey of Katara Hospitality. The company’s history is a narrative of transformation, from a vision rooted in Qatari tradition to a global force shaping the hospitality landscape.

Katara Hospitality’s journey is connected with the growth of Qatar’s hospitality sector, where it has played a pivotal role in defining the standards of service excellence and luxury. From the iconic Katara Towers to the timeless elegance of The Ritz-Carlton, the company’s properties are more than mere establishments; they are beacons of hospitality, reflecting the warmth and richness of Qatari culture.

Qatar Travel Mart provides an opportune moment for us to share insights, explore collaborative ventures, and collectively pave the way for the future of hospitality. Katara Hospitality is poised to continue leading with innovation, sustainability, and a dedication to delivering unparalleled guest experiences.”

H.E. Sheikh Nayef Bin Eid Al-Thani, Chairman and Managing Director of the Retaj Group, Vice Chairman of the Arab Tourism Development Fund and Member of the Qatari Hotel Association, said: “We were enthusiastic about our role as a platinum sponsor in the second edition of the Qatar Travel Mart, building on the success we experienced during the inaugural exhibition in 2021. Our involvement in the second edition underscores the commitment of Retaj Hotels and Hospitality, as a Qatari national company, to the significance of providing support and actively engaging in such exhibitions.”

H.E. Sheikh Nayef Bin Eid Al-Thani, added: “We express our gratitude for the dedicated efforts of the Qatari government, particularly Qatar Tourism, and all those involved in orchestrating Qatar Travel Mart 2023. This event follows Qatar’s successful promotion of innovative tourism concepts during its hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. This not only left a lasting impression but also propelled Qatar onto the global stage, all while preserving its distinct Qatari and Arab identity. These achievements are a testament to the remarkable progress the nation is making under the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the esteemed Amir of Qatar. One of the fruits of this progress is Doha being honoured with the title of Arab Tourism Capital for the year 2023.”

On this occasion, MrKhalid Hassan KafoodMedia & Government Relations Manager of Mowasalat Company (Karwa), stated: “As Qatar’s largest transport provider, we feel that it is our mandate to be a driving force behind the country’s Tourism Industry. We cooperate with Qatar Tourism and the local DMCs as a dedicated partner in crafting unforgettable travel experiences.  Our impeccable quality and stringent safety measures, clean and maintained fleet, and trained drivers allow us to offer individual at-scale solutions for Qatar’s guest. Being the official transport provider of the QTM is a natural result of years of experience in the field, which we seek to share for the benefit of the industry.”

Mr. Manoj Kumar Tiwari, GM of Regency Travel & Tours, said: “Qatar’s tourism numbers have experienced a significant upsurge since the successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2022. Our Destination Management Company (DMC), REGENCY HOLIDAYS, is committed to ongoing product development, with a focus on presenting Qatar as the preferred destination for discerning travellers. To discover the wide range of captivating activities Qatar has to offer and to gain insights into our portfolio of products and services, we invite you to visit our booth.”

Annie Altunyan, Project Manager, Experience Qatar, said: “Our partnership extends beyond the event; it’s a fusion of expertise. As the Official DMC of the event, we bring a unique blend of local insights and global perspectives, ensuring that each traveller becomes a storyteller, narrating their extraordinary journey through the heart of Qatar.”

Ms Alexandra Streltsova, Director of The Dominican Republic Tourism Board, said: “On behalf of the Ministry of Tourism of the Dominican Republic we feel excited to be part of the 2nd edition of Qatar Travel Mart. We had the chance to witness the start of this great initiative and strongly believe this year event will be a great success. Our country will showcase the main touristic attractions and share our Caribbean vibes with the visitors.” 

Mr. Maksat Usubaliev, Vice President of the Tourism Development Support Fund of the Kyrgyz Republic, said: “If you want to discover a new destination with unique nomadic culture and divine nature then add Kyrgyz Republic to your must-visit list! At our stand 1-K10 you can learn more about our country and meet with the representatives of the tourism sector who will arrange your unforgettable trips. Our cultural presentation that will be held on the 21st of November at 4.30 to 4.50 where national songs, dances and plays on the instruments will be performed.”

After the Opening Ceremony of Qatar Travel Mart 2023, HE Mr. Saad Al Kharji, Chairman of Qatar Tourism delivered a keynote speech centered on the theme of Qatar’s Tourism Progress. This was followed by keynote speeches from distinguished individuals such as H.E. Mr. Hissein Brahim Taha, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Prof. Muzaffer Uysal, Provost Professor, University of Massachusetts, and Tom Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer of the European Tourism Association (ETOA).

These keynote speeches inaugurated the QTM 2023 Conference, establishing a platform for the exchange of knowledge, inspiration, and insights into emerging global trends. The conference initiated its proceedings with a skilfully moderated panel discussion led by Prof. Wolfgang George Arlt. The focal point of this discussion was ‘The Future of Travel & Tourism: A Growing Positive Curve,’ and it featured prominent figures, including Mohammed Al Asmakh, Director – Asset Management – Katara Hospitality; Philip Dickinson, overseeing Leading International Markets and MICE at Qatar Tourism; Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tourism Association (ETOA); Chris Flynn, who serves as Chairman and Founder of the World Tourism Association for Culture & Heritage (WTACH) and Prof. Muzaffer Uysal, Provost Professor, University of Massachusetts.

Following the panel discussion, attendees could listen to guest talks on topics such as ‘The ‘Burgenstock Collection: A Sustainable Collection’; ‘Certification: Why This is so Crucial in This International Crisis Period ‘; ‘Chinese Outbound Tourism, Current Status and Predictions for the Future’; and ‘Korea Tourism: Riding The Korean Wave.’

In addition to these insightful discussions, attendees had the opportunity to explore exhibition stands and QTM’s Global Village. Hosting 25 embassies, the Global Village is a hub for diverse cultures, connecting different parts of the world under one roof and showcasing heritage, traditions, and philosophies.

At the grand Gala Dinner, Qatar Travel Mart 2023 will shine a well-deserved spotlight on both exhibitors who have demonstrated extraordinary dedication to enhancing attendee experiences, promoting greater accessibility, and fostering environments conducive to productive business interactions. Awards will be given to exhibitors across various categories: Awards will be presented in a range of categories, including Most Accessible Booth, Innovation Excellence Booth, Best Sustainability Champion Booth, Transport Excellence Booth, and Best Designed Stand (above and below 150 SQM). The Gala Dinner promises to be an unforgettable evening hosted at the luxurious Raffles Hotel in Doha.

Attendees can also participate in the Hosted Buyer Program, a collaboration with Qatar Tourism –– a valuable initiative that facilitates connections between selected high-quality buyers from QTM’s target countries and regions with exhibitors and visitors to generate business opportunities.

The inauguration of today’s event also signalled the start of a three-day media familiarization program organized by Experience Qatar. This comprehensive program featured a guided heritage tour, encompassing visits to prominent landmarks such as the Qatar National Museum and Souq Waqif, as well as an enchanting sunset dhow excursion, providing breathtaking vistas of Doha’s impressive skyline.

On the concluding day of QTM 2023, exhibitors have the chance to participate in the inaugural Golf Day event, which will be held at the renowned Education City Golf Course in Doha. This presents an excellent opportunity to connect with fellow professionals in the travel industry within a laid-back and informal setting, fostering the growth of valuable relationships.

Qatar Travel Mart 2023 will run until November 22, 2023, taking place at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC). The event is accessible to the public from 10am to 7pm.