Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has announced the opening of representative offices in China, with headquarters in Beijing, and supporting locations in Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The offices will be operated in partnership with PHG Consulting, a division of Preferred Hospitality Group; the premier global provider of representation and consultancy services for tourism boards, destination management companies, airlines, and hotel brands.
The opening comes as Qatar has officially been awarded Approved Destination Status (ADS), allowing it to receive tourists from China and to promote Qatar as a tourism destination within China.
“Qatar has become an increasingly accessible destination for Chinese travelers, especially after Qatar waived entry visa requirements for Chinese citizens,” commented His Excellency Sultan Salmeen Al Mansouri, Qatar’s Ambassador to China. “Chinese visitors to Qatar no longer need to apply or pay for a visa; instead, a multi-entry waiver is issued to them free-of-charge at the port of entry. At the same time, the Chinese outbound tourism market has been growing exponentially, making the time ripe for Qatar to establish a presence in China and actively engage with the domestic travel and tourism market.”
The QTA office in China will aim to greatly enhance the organisation’s on-the-ground presence and capabilities, introducing and developing awareness and knowledge about Qatar as a quality destination through pro-active marketing to tour operators, travel agencies, hospitality partners and media, as well as consumers.
According to Rashed AlQurese, Chief Marketing and Promotion Officer at QTA, Qatar’s marketing campaign in China will cover a wide range of promotional initiatives, including workshops, sales visits, travel agents 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 destination among Chinese tourists.
“China has risen rapidly as a major source of outbound tourists in the world and we have identified it as key source market for future growth, among both leisure and business visitors,” said AlQurese. “Qatar has been developing its assets in both areas, and we look forward to working with our partners at CNTA and PHG Consulting to raise awareness of our unique tourism offering. Our on-the-ground presence in China will enable us to
actively promote Qatar to Chinese consumers, and develop relationships with members of the Chinese travel trade who will sell Qatar as a destination.”
He continued, “Now that Qatar has been granted ADS, our work can begin immediately, and will culminate in a major campaign that will kick off in January 2018, which will include advertising in major publications, key outdoor locations and familiarization trips for media to experience Qatar first hand.”
Chinese travelers interested in Qatar will also have easy access to information about the destination’s tourism offerings, hospitality options and key tourism events online, with its official website (www.visitqatar.qa) now available in Mandarin. Additionally, Visit Qatar will establish a presence across the most prominent Chinese social media platforms in the coming months.
“As demand for unique, exciting, and experience-rich destinations continues to grow among Chinese travelers, we are excited to embark on this multi-year partnership with QTA. We look forward to working together to achieve Qatar’s ambitions of generating great awareness and demand for the destination’s compelling tourism offerings among China’s booming outbound travel market,” said Ken Mastrandrea, Chief Operating Officer of PHG.
QTA’s office in China is in the third to open in Asia and the ninth globally. It joins an international network currently covering the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, Turkey, the United States of America, the GCC markets and South East Asia. QTA officials anticipate the opening of additional offices in Russia and India before the end of the year.
Qatar is home to the award-winning five star airline Qatar Airways. The national carrier flies directly to 6 destinations in mainland China, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Shanghai, and Hangzhou.