MIDDLE EAST - The newly-opened Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), has hosted 52 events involving 30,000 visitors since its opening at the end of 2011. The estimated delegate spend from overseas visitors is already QR41m (US$11.2m).
The QNCC welcomed its first soft opening event in November 2011, for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), which brought together 400 international and regional educators.
QNCC also last year welcomed 1,200 delegates for the World Innovation Summit for Education 2011 (WISE), 1-3 November, and the 20th World Petroleum Congress 2011, 4-8 December.
Major events booked in this year include the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIII), 21-26 April and the 25th Universal Postal Congress (UPU) in September and October 2012.
The quadrennial UNCTAD XIII is expected to attract 4,000 international delegates including ministers from the European Union. It will be the first time the conference will have been hosted in the region and it will be preceded by a series of events, including the third World Investment Forum, Civil Society Forum and Global Services Forum.
Trevor McCartney, Director of Business Development of QNCC, adds his team is looking forward to hosting one of the largest conferences in the world, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 18), 26 November-7 December 2012.
McCartney describes COP 18 as “a challenging event, but one posing a great opportunity for QNCC to take centre stage in showcasing its capabilities and flexibility. The success of this event will put us in a superior position to attract many more large conferences and exhibitions to the country”.
McCartney notes QNCC is part of the Qatar Foundation’s national vision of transforming the country into a knowledge-based economy.
“Naturally, our key target market is the association market specifically knowledge-based conferences and exhibitions from the MENA region,” he says. “We recently concluded a familiarisation trip for a group of potential association clients and received very positive feedback.”
According to Qatar Tourism Authority, the country recorded a jump in visitors in 2011. The number coming from the Gulf region soared 50 per cent compared to the previous year and there was an increase of 12 per cent for the international visitors. Business tourism accounted for 72 per cent of the number of visitors received by Qatar last year.
The country was recently voted the World’s Leading Business Travel Destination at the 2012 World Travel Awards.
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