Qatar Airways prepares for Games

Qatar Airways is pulling out all the stops to put the Asian Games 2006 on the global map and in turn highlight what Doha has to offer the inbound leisure market.

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By  Joseph Mortimer Published  September 7, 2006

Qatar Airways is pulling out all the stops to put the Asian Games 2006 on the global map and in turn highlight what Doha has to offer the inbound leisure market. The 15th instalment of the games is set to take place in Doha for the first time in December, bringing together athletes and sport stars from all over Asia. Branding has played an important role in marketing Qatar Airways in advance of the games; 10 Airbus A330s have been painted in three distinct colour schemes and feature the Asia Games logo. “Qatar Airways is growing at a phenomenal rate, averaging almost 40% year-on-year in passenger numbers and Asia is very much a focus region for our expansion plans,” explained Akbar Al Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways. He anticipated a large increase in passengers from the Far East, particularly China and the Indian Subcontinent, hence the airline had already taken delivery of several new aircraft to cater to this increased demand. “Qatar Airways will operate additional flights into key markets to help facilitate travel for athletes, their families and spectators alike,” he said. “We are already putting together special packages to attract competing teams and for visitors wishing to attend this sporting spectacle.” In advance of the games, Qatar has encouraged investment in sports events, infrastructure and services and at the end of last year, opened ASPIRE, the world’s largest sporting academy. Qatar Airways has jumped on sports-related sponsorship opportunities and was recently the official carrier of the Sri-Lanka cricket team during its tour of England. “Sport spreads the message of global unity. Sport is vitally important in the health of people’s lives, which is why we will continue to play a very important role in sponsoring different sports around the world,” said Al Baker. Staging the Asia Games is just one element of the Qatari Government’s multi-faceted strategy to establish the country as the Gulf’s number one sports and leisure destination. With this aim in mind, several new leisure-focussed resorts have opend or are planned for the capital, Doha. The Four Seasons, Doha, boasting an extensive spa centre, has already opened its doors and in November, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company L.L.C will open its second property in the city; the Sharq Village & Spa, built in the style of a Qatari souq and featuring 174 rooms and suites.

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