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May 19, 2009

Small meetings segment healthy in Doha

The small meetings segment is looking extremely healthy for 2009, according to Ziad Mallah, senior sales manager for the city’s Sharq Village & Spa, operated by The Ritz-Carlton Hotels Company. Commenting on current business levels, Mallah said: “Doha as a destination remains healthy. In addition to business from the large exhibitions, the local market is very strong for us, particularly the oil and gas sector through government-related conference business.”


Mallah said that demand remains high against 2008 figures. “There has been no scaling back of meetings and if you compare year-on-year demand we even have some companies producing more business. I believe that people are choosing to come to Doha over other destinations because it is a very strong market with a powerful economy and a growing number of multinational companies are opening offices here, which is positive for our meetings business.”


The opening of new high profile leisure attractions in the city is also driving the meeting sector, according to Mallah. “Corporate business is our main focus, but along with the assistance of the Qatar Tourism Authority and the exhibitions calendar we are also trying to attract more business from the leisure segment. This year we have already welcomed several groups to Doha with combination business/leisure itineraries – one day of meetings followed by two days of leisure.


“The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and Doha also has a lot more areas to visit, with the new Museum of Islamic Art as well as interactive destinations such as places like Souk Al Waqeef. These are major attractions and we are looking at incentive-related packaging to drive interest.”


Mallah said that the hotel will be launching its across-the-board portfolio of summer packages by May 15, including special group and meetings packages.

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