As part of its mission to form a global network with international partners in the hotel and hospitality sector, the Qatari Hotels Association (QHA) held its first bilateral meeting virtually with the Turkish Tourism Investors Association (TTYD), in the presence of QHA Chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani and TTYD President Ms. Oya Narin. The meeting was also attended by H.E. Mehmet Mustafa Göksu, Ambassador of Turkey to Qatar, and Mr. Levent Sadik Kucukdaban, Country Advisor of the Turkish Presidency Investment Office in Doha
The meeting was attended by Mr. Omar Al-Fardan, QHA Second Deputy to the Chairman, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed bin Fahd Al Thani, QHA Secretary General, Sheikh Fahad bin Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, founding member, Sheikh Muhammad bin Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, founding member, and from Katara Hospitality Sheikh Ahmed Al Thani attended the meeting, as well as Ms. Sarah Abdullah, QBA Deputy GM.
The meeting included the introduction of the members of both entities and discussions of the status of the hospitality sector in light of the current global crisis and the challenges facing the sector. The two sides also discussed investment projects in which cooperation could take place and agreed on future steps for their implementation.
Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani began the meeting by welcoming all the attendees, stressing out that the launch of the first bilateral meeting organized by the Qatari Hotels Association with a Turkish institution such as the Turkish Tourism Investors Association is a proof of the strength of the Turkish-Qatari ties and the real interest of businessmen in developing trade and economic relations with their counterparts in Turkey especially in the field of hospitality and tourism. H.E. added that QHA seeks to promote the Qatari hotels sector and also promote Qatar as a destination for tourism investment.
For her part, Ms. Oya Narin, TTYD President, thanked the Qatari Hotels Association for this meeting, and added that the Turkish Tourism Investors Association was established in 1988 as a non-governmental organization to become the voice of tourism investors, and it is the only business organization that covers all tourism and travel activities in Turkey, noting that the association includes a high-level membership of the major Turkish companies operating in the sector.
Then the meeting agenda started by introducing QHA members. QHA Chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim, spoke briefly about the group of hotels he owns inside and outside Qatar, pointing out that he started his investments in the hotel sector in Turkey three years ago and his aspiration to study other investment opportunities there. Mr. Omar Al-Fardan also spoke about the various sectors the holding covers, referring to the hotel sector and the group’s investments in this sector locally and internationally. For his part, Sheikh Fahad bin Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani spoke about his company that owns the Four Seasons Hotel in Qatar, as well as Sheikh Hamad bin Muhammad bin Fahd Al Thani as owner of the Intercontinental Hotel in Doha, in addition to Sheikh Ahmed Al Thani, representative of Katara Hospitality, a Qatari international company owner, operator and developer of hotels.
As for the Turkish side, TTYD board members introduced the various companies and sectors they represent. Ms. Oya Narin, the president of the association, introduced herself as Marti Hotels and Marinas Chairwoman, Mr. Mehmet Tevfik NANE, TTYD Vice President and also the president and CEO of Pegasus Airlines, Mrs. Pelin AKIN ÖZALP, Akfen Holding Company board member.
Mr. Ömer TOSUN, President and Founder of the Indigo Group, Mr. Alper AKSOY, Representative of Aksoy Contracting and Trading Company, Mr. Kasım ZOTO, Armada Hotel Founder and President, Mrs. Ece GÜRÇAY, owner of Cactus Hotel, Mr. Mehmet GÖÇEN, board member of Göçay Construction and Contracting Inc, Mrs. Ayla HEYFEGİL, owner of Servotel Corporation, Mr.Giray BORANMs, Bilgili Holding BLG Capital Director and Ms. Hale Atlan, TTYD Secretary General.
Following the introduction, H.E. Mr. Mehmet Mustafa Göksu, Ambassador of Turkey to Qatar, expressed his pleasure with this meeting, pointing to the strength of the Turkish-Qatari relations and the two parties’ will to develop them to rise to the capabilities of both countries, adding that this meeting is an important step for the two entities in the hotel and hospitality sector. Wishing everyone success in supporting and developing the sector.
During the meeting, the Turkish team gave a presentation that included information about the association and its members and their investments in accommodation, marinas, yachts, land and air transport, tour management, tourist shopping centers, leisure and recreation facilities and golf courses. The total investment portfolio amounted to about 60 billion US dollars, which represents a large part of private investments in tourism in Turkey. In addition, the members build and operate many tourism facilities in various countries mainly in the CIS, Central Europe, the Middle East and the Balkans.
The presentation also provided information about the tourism sector in Turkey in general, as the latest statistics mentioned the influx of 52 million tourists to Turkey, and the tourism sector’s share in the total income amounted to 34.5 billion dollars. Turkey also occupies the 6th place as one of the most preferred tourist destinations, and contains 463 blue flag beaches, which qualifies it to be a distinctive tourist destination and attractive to investment in this sector.
QHA Members presented an overview of the association as the first leading private entity in the hotel and tourism sector in Qatar that works as a platform for hotel owners and tourism establishments in Qatar to exchange views, participate in setting strategies and legislation, and launch initiatives and events for the development of the association members’ institutions and the hotel sector. The number of the institutions of QHA Members has so far reached about 91 hotels, noting that the membership door has recently been opened to all hotels and concerned institutions.
The attendees also discussed the most important challenges facing the sector in light of the current economic conditions that the world is going through as a result of the Corona pandemic and which represent a major challenge for the hotel sector and its employees, the sector investment climate in general as well as the measures that have been taken by the different organizations that sponsor the hotel sector in Turkey and some international institutions.
They also discussed opportunities for joint cooperation, especially in light of the brotherly relationship between the two countries, and the great potential that Turkey and Qatar enjoy to develop joint projects in the tourism sector. They stressed out the importance of the cooperation of various economic institutions, private sector companies and businessmen in this sector to overcome the consequences of the current crisis and support the efforts of governments to restore the recovery of the local and global economy.
At the end of the meeting, the Turkish Tourism Investors Association invited the QHA to participate in the “Tourism Investment Forum” at the beginning of next year to benefit from the presence of all international investors in the hotel and tourism sector, financial institutions, banks and funds. For his part, Sheikh Faisal also invited members of the Turkish Association to visit Doha soon and discuss the potential investment opportunities in this rich and promising sector.