Qatar, represented by Qatar Tourism, on Monday presided over the 8th meeting of GCC Ministers of Tourism, a pivotal gathering aimed at fostering collaboration and advancing tourism initiatives within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

Following preparatory discussions led by undersecretaries for tourism on February 18, the ministerial meeting convened to assess the progress of joint tourism efforts and strategise ways to propel the sector forward.

Tourism ministers from across the GCC region attended the meeting to review the implementation of agreed-upon initiatives, notably the GCC Tourism Strategy 2030.

Endorsed during the 43rd session of the Supreme Council of the GCC, this comprehensive roadmap sets forth ambitious objectives to enhance tourism cooperation and elevate the region’s status as a global tourism destination.

In his opening address, President of Qatar Tourism Saad Al Kharji reaffirmed Qatar’s commitment to fostering regional tourism integration and underscored the significance of collective efforts in advancing the tourism sector.

Emphasising Qatar’s role as a catalyst for tourism growth, Kharji highlighted the successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and Qatar’s ongoing efforts to attract visitors and enhance the tourism landscape. He added that with last year’s tourist figures surpassing the four million mark, Qatar has witnessed a remarkable surge in tourism, underscoring the effectiveness of its strategic initiatives and investments in the sector.

Reflecting on Qatar’s contributions to tourism development, he reiterated the country’s dedication to leading efforts in shaping the region’s tourism landscape.

Kharji expressed Qatar’s pride in hosting the 8th Tourism Ministerial Meeting, reaffirming the country’s commitment to fostering collaboration and driving tourism growth across the GCC.

Underlining Qatar’s comprehensive approach to tourism development, he highlighted the country’s investments in infrastructure, cultural initiatives and sustainable tourism practices as Qatar continues to diversify its tourism offerings, positioning itself as a premier destination for leisure, business and cultural experiences.

Jassim Al Budaiwi, secretary-general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, outlined the remarkable strides made by GCC nations in the tourism sector as a significant economic contributor.

Budaiwi extended gratitude to the Amir His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and current GCC chair for support to Gulf cooperation, particularly in tourism.

Budaiwi expressed the ministers’ congratulations to Bahrain for designating Manama as the Gulf Tourism Capital for 2024.

He underscored their role in showcasing the GCC’s tourism diversity to global visitors, facilitating tourism integration and implementing the unified tourist visa project, endorsed recently by GCC leaders to ease travel within the region.

Discussions among the ministers covered various topics, including the Gulf Tourism Strategy, collaborative efforts between tourism and culture sectors, and initiatives aimed at advancing joint tourism endeavours within the GCC countries.

In their speeches, the GCC ministers of tourism reiterated their commitment to enhancing GCC tourism cooperation, emphasising its pivotal role in fostering stronger regional relations and contributing significantly to the growth and prosperity of member states.

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