Qatar, Oman and UAE identified as emerging tourism destinations

Oman, Qatar and the UAE outside Dubai have been nominated as the top three emerging markets in the GCC in a recent survey of tourism leaders conducted by organisers of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), to be held in Dubai April 30 – May 2, 2005.

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  December 6, 2004

Oman, Qatar and the UAE outside Dubai have been nominated as the top three emerging markets in the GCC in a recent survey of tourism leaders conducted by organisers of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC), to be held in Dubai April 30 – May 2, 2005. In addition, Saudi Arabia was identified as a new destination with potential to develop a successful tourism product in the longer term. Conference organiser, Jonathan Worsley, said that the online survey of the 45-member AHIC advisory panel revealed both chief executives of regional tourism icons, and international hospitality companies, were in agreement on the prime locations for future hotel and tourism investment. As a result, these markets will all be the subjects of dedicated country focus panels at the conference. “While the consensus is that Dubai is the leader in the regional hospitality industry, this success is set to be replicated in neighbouring states, many of which have already set in motion development plans to exploit their tourism potential,” says Worsley. “However, countries such as Qatar, which has been tipped as a destination to watch by the travel giant Thomsons, have demonstrated the virtues of complementary tourism and diversity, rather than copycat developments.” The Oman government has proved it is dedicated to developing the tourism market by pledging US $100m by the end of 2005 on promoting the country. A new airport terminal is due to be constructed at Oman International Airport by 2006, while the development of a US $800m resort is planned on reclaimed land. Called The Wave, the resort will stretch along 7.3km of coastline. In May, the Qatar Tourism Authority unveiled an ambitious master plan that will require an investment of more than US $15 billion into resorts, hotels and sports projects. A US $5 billion new airport is under construction and eight more five-star hotels are due to open in the coming years. These properties will include the Four Seasons, Courtyard by Marriott, Marriott Executive Apartments, Renaissance, Shangri-La, Hilton and Rotana. The Arabian Hotel Investment Conference is set to attract more than 300 delegates to discuss topics as broad-ranging as environmental and sustainable tourism , real estate issues, investment and industry trends, supply and demand dynamics and security issues.

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