While Qatar Tourism Authority is tapping the exponentially growing outbound markets across the globe, India also made it to the list with the first office opening in Mumbai.
The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) recently inaugurated a representative office in Mumbai, Maharashtra which is the eleventh in a network of offices around the globe. The aim is to tap into one of the fastest growing outbound tourism markets in the world, second only to China. According to United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) estimates, India will account for 50 million outbound tourists by 2020 and the market for travel and tourism in India is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of around 7.23 pc during the period 2016-2021.
Rashed AlQurese, chief marketing and promotion officer at QTA said, “The rapid growth of India’s outbound tourism market in recent years, coupled with QTA’s intensified efforts to diversify and grow visitor source markets makes it the right time to establish our on-the-ground presence in India.” He added, “The steps taken to make accessing Qatar easier are particularly targeted at visitors who are seeking to experience our country’s luxury hospitality and unique cultural offerings, all while benefiting from the convenience of relatively short flights.”
QTA’s representative office in India will oversee a wide range of promotional initiatives, including workshops, sales visits, travel agent destination training through QTA’s online Tawash programme, partnerships with tour operators, familiarisation trips, media campaigns and a variety of innovative activities to raise Qatar’s profile as a leisure and business tourism destination among Indian tourists.
Kallol Roy, an outbound tour operator based in Mumbai tells India Outbound, “This is a welcoming move. Several Indians are gradually opening up to unconventional outbound destinations and moving beyond the usual ones. Due to increasing awareness on social media and other digital platforms especially travel blogs, the willingness to experience and explore has widened among Indian travellers.
I have had several clients come up to me asking for specialised Qatar trips. The cause of Qatar was further helped after it waived entry visa requirements for Indian citizens last year. This has made it accessible and affordable. The new office in Mumbai will only help to strengthen this cause.”
Marzena Magnuszewska, a Polish tour operator based in New Delhi, India agrees, as she told India Outbound, “Indian travellers are looking beyond the UAE and into other lesser visited Middle Eastern countries like Qatar. The trend is definitely there and growing in stature. A new representative office in India might help the cause as the awareness about the destination will be tailor made for the Indian travellers.”
In the first quarter of 2018, Qatar welcomed more than 110,000 visitors from India. The country’s award-winning national carrier has 100 weekly direct flights connecting the capital Doha to 13 major cities across India. These are matched with another 67 weekly flights on board Indian airlines Indigo Airlines, Jet Airways and Air India Express bringing the total to 167 flights a week.
QTA’s office in Mumbai closely follows the opening of a representative office in Moscow, Russia last March. It joins an international network currently covering the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, the United States of America, China, Russia, the GCC markets and South-East Asia.