While pushing hard to promote itself as a high-end tourist destination, Qatar has embarked on an initiative that will keep tourism sustainable and eco-friendly.
Taking a lead in this initiative is Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) which
recently hosted international experts to help it develop a sustainable tourism promotion programme.
Fred Van Eijk, CEO, QTA, and Ibrahim Fakhroo, senior manager, Operations, QTA, met with the representatives of Travelwatch, a leading travel industry-led environmental consultancy group who will act as consultants to QTA and will provide it with top international expertise regarding environmental audits, sustainable programmes, environmentally-friendly buildings programmes, national park development and related matters.
Simon Beeching and James Blanchard, founders of Travelwatch, and Hugh Somerville, internationally renowned experts, together with QTA officials met Ras Laffan authorities, officials at the Supreme Council for the Environment and Natural Reserves (SCENR) along with Unesco's Doha office experts and visited different sites such as Al Shahania, Ras Laffan and Khor Al Udaid.
QTA is greatly concerned about the environment and is determined to take the best actions to make Qatar a 'happening and future-looking destination, applying all scientific and management best practices', a QTA spokeswoman was quoted as saying.
'In this regard, Travelwatch will provide QTA the necessary expertise and support to develop a sustainable and eco-friendly tourism programme throughout the country, to preserve and develop properly Qatar's natural resources and treasures for future generations' she said. 'It is the belief of the QTA as well as the country's leadership, that we will have either sustainable tourism or no tourism at all. Apart from Travelwatch, we also intend to bring in the expertise of Unesco to help us in this effort'.
The QTA was established in 2000 with the mission to develop, coordinate and manage tourism in Qatar. The body is responsible for organising, enabling and supervising the development of the tourism industry in Qatar, representing and promoting Qatar as a tourism destination at International
Travel fairs, generating meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions and ensuring the overall coordination of the infrastructure and development.