Doha, Qatar - November 20, 2021: Qatar Travel Mart (QTM) 2021, organised by NeXTfairs for Exhibitions and Conferences, closed with remarkable results of dramatic numbers of business leads and deals generated and record-breaking footfall.
QTM was honoured to have the presence of H.E. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Subaie, the Minister of Municipality, and H.E Sheikh Nasser bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, the Managing Director of Qetaifan Projects to visit the show. Both voiced their support for such a great effort to boost Qatar Tourism in the full spotlight of international partners, exhibitors and countries attending the first edition of the show and were delighted to see the huge number of visitors present from all over the world.
The first of its kind event, was under the Patronage of the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, H.E. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani and inaugurated by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Qassim Al-Abdullah Al-Thani with a ribbon cutting. The ribbon cutting ceremony was also attended by the Chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, the Co-Founder and General Manager of NeXTfairs, Mr. Rawad Sleem, Vice Chairman of Al Hattab Holding, Mr. Abdulaziz Saad Al Kaabi, and Acting Chief Executive Officer of Katara Hospitality, Mr. Andrew Humphries. Attended by more than 70 prominent VIPS including representatives of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group, Discover Qatar & Qatar Holidays, Katara Hospitality, Qatar Aviation Authority, Qatar Free Zone Authority and Ashghal as well as 18 country Ambassadors and representatives from Germany, Tanzania, Spain, Korea, Egypt, Mexico, Tajikistan, Thailand, Japan, Dominican Republic, Republic of Haiti, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Italy, India, Indonesia, Rwanda, Azerbaijan. Also attending were representatives of Qatar Aeronautical Academy, Marriott International, AMFORHT, AlFardan Group, and Abuissa Group.
QTM 2021 attracted the full support of numerous industry sponsors and partners. Founding Partner is Katara Hospitality, Qatar Tourism the Strategic Partner, Qatar Airways Holidays the Founding Leisure Partner, along with Discover Qatar. The Supreme Committee is the Founding Sports Partner, Qatar Airways the Official Airline and Mowasalat the Official Transport Partner. Amadeus is the event’s Technology Partner, Retaj Hotels & Hospitality the Gold Sponsor and Gulf Adventures and Elite Motors are Silver Sponsors. Association Partners include The World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Training (AMFORHT), World Leisure Organisation (WLO), and World Tourism Association for Culture & Heritage (WTACH).
The highlight of the inaugural edition of QTM 2021 were the hugely popular talks and panel discussions in the event’s high-profile three-day Conference, covering topics such as what the future holds for travel and tourism. Industry experts shared their experience to give the visitors insights and knowledge about upcoming trends in travel and tourism. The great line up of high-profile travel & tourism experts from around the world as speakers included His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker- Chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, , Ahmad Musa Al Namla,- Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Museums, Nigel Fell – President & CEO of The World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage (WTACH), Philippe Francois – President of the World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Training (AMFORHT), Dr Cristina Ortega Nuere – Chief Scientific and COO of the World Leisure Organization, Florian Sengstschmid - CEO of Azerbaijan Tourism Board, Emad Abu Jalala - CEO Gulf Adventures, Dr Ivan Ninov - Executive Dean of Al Rayyan International University College (ARIU), Sergey Sukhanov - CEO of Corporation Tourism, RF, JSC, Nuno Anahory - Chairman of Forum Portugal Qatar, Dr Sunny - Managing Director of Maldives Halal Travel Guide, Nick Wilkinson - Regional Vice President of the Norwegian Cruise Line, in addition to other keynote speakers.
The event’s Hosted Buyers’ Program, involving 24 influential buyers from 15 countries including Germany, Russia, France, Malaysia, Turkey, Sweden, Denmark and the USA to network with exhibitors and close profitable deals, was hailed as a great success landing 860 B2B meetings and ensuing profitable deals for those attending.
QTM 2021 achieved such all-round success that a second edition of QTM has been launched for the year 2022. Sponsors and partners, exhibitors and visitors alike backed up the show’s success with their comments
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “As one of the driving forces behind Qatar’s expansion and progress in recent years, Qatar Airways Group is delighted to support the Qatar Travel Mart 2021 as an excellent opportunity to unite the local travel and leisure sector and showcase our nation’s unique cultural heritage and vision for the future of Qatar as a tourism destination.”
Andrew Humphries, Acting Chief Executive Officer of Katara Hospitality said: “Our participation at Qatar Travel Mart 2021 presented yet another opportunity for Katara Hospitality to showcase its diverse portfolio of iconic hospitality gems located in key global travel markets. It is an honour to be among the global hospitality giants exhibiting their collections at this esteemed travel trade event.”
He added: “Tourism is a vital pillar of Qatar’s National Vision 2030 and we, at Katara Hospitality have long understood its importance in our quest for excellence within the sector. We have seized every opportunity to foster and promote the country to pass on an outstanding legacy for future generations,” he added.
Rawad Sleem, Co-Founder and General Manager of NeXTfairs for Exhibitions and Conferences, explained: “The facts and figures speak for themselves. With visitors’ numbers topping 6,300 and 860 B2B meetings generating major deals with DMCs and Tour operators, reaching millions, we are delighted with the huge success of the first QTM. So much so that we are now announcing a second edition due to this great achievement for 2022. Our sponsors and exhibitors have echoed our positive impressions as they welcomed the opportunity to close new deals and achieve significant business. The Conference was also a huge success with exciting new topics for the industry discussed and debated and valuable insights shared. Hosted buyers and international media not only enjoyed the show but learnt so much more than they knew before about the country and its culture whilst networking and closing deals. Our visitors also underlined their enjoyment of the show and gaining knowledge and connections as they explored all the stands and caught the vibrant Global Village cultural performances.”
Rawad Sleem concluded: “Finally we want to thank the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, H.E. Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani for lending his patronage and Minister, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Qassim Al-Abdullah Al-Thani and the Chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker for inaugurating our event. We also thank all our sponsors, partners and visitors for their support and for making our first outing such a tremendous success. And on the back of that, we look forward to welcoming you all again next year at QTM 2022.”
Nigel Fell, President & CEO, The World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage, commented: “The Qatar Travel Mart and Conference 2021 (QTM21) was a World Class event that will help re-shape how tourism leaders and industry stakeholders gather to do business post COVID19. Embracing new ideas, innovations and technologies, QTM21 was an inspirational platform that set new standards in exploring visitor economy growth but in ways that ensure we better protect our environment, cultural heritage assets and the fabric of the worlds’ local communities. The World Tourism Association for Culture and Heritage was honoured and proud to have partnered such a historic and esteemed event. Congratulations QTM21!”
Rick Enders, Cluster General Manager, JW Marriott Marquis, Marriott Marquis and Marriott Executive Apartments City Center Doha, enthused: “QTM was a wonderful platform for us to interact with industry colleagues, experts and consumers and to showcase our capabilities as a cluster organization including JW Marriott Marquis, Marriott Marquis and Marriott Executive Apartments City Center Doha. I was honoured to be part of the panel discussion about the industry and am humbled with the opportunity to contribute. Some great leads were generated from the past few days and we look forward to continuing the partnership with Qatar Travel Mart in years to come.”
Florian Sengstschmid, Chief Executive Officer of Azerbaijan Tourism Board, was equally effusive: “Qatar Travel Mart proved to be a great initiative in bringing together the key stakeholders of the tourism industry. It was certainly a great pleasure to be a part of it from the very first time together with 12 industry partners from Azerbaijan. We are certainly looking forward to coming back here next year to further our connection with our esteemed partners.”
Wafiq Al-Wahidi-General Manager-Amadeus Qatar, said: “It gives us great pleasure to be the technology partner of the Qatar International Exhibition for Travel & Tourism - QTM 2021, which was organized for the first time in the State of Qatar. This exhibition is a great achievement and source of pride for all of us, and there is no doubt that it stimulated and revived the tourism sector in the country after the global Covid-19 crisis. We commend the wonderful organization of the exhibition organizers, and it is clear that the success of this impressive exhibition is only the result of the keenness of state officials to encourage the tourism sector, which has exceeded all expectations. Travel advances progress, broadens horizons, builds connections, and boosts economies. Many technological topics, studies and conversations have been raised about the role of modern technology in promoting and developing safe and healthy travel and speeding up travel procedures in the light of health restrictions. The talks and panel discussions were so constructive it has to be said that the event was a huge success. We look forward to seeing everyone at the second edition of QTM in 2022.”
QTM 2021 hosted a three-day media familiarisation trip for international media, which showcased the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ stadiums and many of Qatar’s famous cultural sites and attractions, as well as allowing the press to experience Qatar’s impressive hospitality landmarks. The International Media Partners came from as far afield as India, Malaysia, UK, China, Dubai, Canada and Russia.