recent political tensions in the region, many events are thriving in Qatar. You
only need to look at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC) to see
Economic sentiment is good. “Qatar has continued to grow”, affirms Florent Joncquiert, director of sales and marketing at the DECC. “This is driven by strong government spending and steady private sector investment, with investors taking a medium- to long-term view of the market opportunities.” A variety of industries are expected to be, or continue to be, growth drivers in the coming years, above all the construction industry. The government has allocated over 9.3 billion euros to infrastructure projects in its budget for 2018. The 15th Project Qatar construction trade fair, organised by IFP, which took place in the first half of May, also benefited from this. It is not the only event expected to be able to take advantage of the construction boom. In September the DECC will be hosting a second trade fair organised by dmg: the first Building Services Qatar.
Last year dmg successfully launched Index, an interior design trade fair. The second edition of Index will be taking place at the DECC this November. The continued development of the country’s tourism infrastructure is also a significant factor in the construction boom. “There are currently over 40 new hotels under development,” reports Joncquiert. Citizens of over 80 countries now have the advantage of visa-free entry to Qatar. Moreover, Qatar Airways is constantly increasing the number of destinations it flies to. All of which makes Qatar an even more attractive destination for international visitors. The aim is to attract over 7 million tourists a year by 2023. The latest figures for Hospitality Qatar, a trade fair organised by IFP – a 50% increase in exhibitors and a 60% rise in visitor numbers – confirm the upswing in the tourism and hospitality industry. Other trade fairs – the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition and Agriteq (an agriculture and agrifood fair), for example – have also grown significantly.
The IMF forecasts GDP growth of 3.1% for Qatar this year. The prospect of the World Cup in Qatar in 2022 and increasing gas production are not the least of the reasons behind this. “The contribution of the energy sector to economic growth is expected to increase significantly this year,” explains Joncquiert. “That goes hand in hand with the recovery in oil and gas prices.” The positive trend is further supported by the 10 billion dollar Barzan gas project. This joint venture between Exxon Mobil and Qatar Gas will increase Qatar’s total gas production by 20 percent. Other sectors characterised by strong growth and increasing investment are transport and logistics, education and health care. There are many conferences taking place around the world in the education and health care, from which Qatar and the DECC also want to benefit. In recognition of the increasing importance of the meeting industry, the venue joined the ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) at the beginning of the year. The decision-makers hope to gain from an exchange of information with other industry players and believe it will help them attract further prestigious conferences to Qatar (www.decc.qa).
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