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Conveying the term globalisation, one of Qatar's main tourism attributes involves the MICE segment where visitors use the country's facilities to organise international events.

Businesses, especially hotels, benefit from the MICE tourism sector of Qatar contributing to the country's economy, as more than 90 percent of visitors in the country are for business according to the Grand Hyatt Doha Hotel & Villas.

Rudolph Karam, director, business development, City Centre Rotana Doha, expressed "MICE is key to our business.

[...] the exhibition activities help us grow our business profitability, brand awareness and potential partnerships."

FANCY FACILITIES

"Qatar has rapidly grown in importance in the region and around the globe.

Recognised as a nation rich in resources as well as tradition, Qatar is transforming into an authentic and unique business and leisure destination while retaining its heritage and traditions," described Thomas Fehlbier, area general manager, Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara. To begin with, Qatar offers an array of facilities for all types of events. The number of options creates an encouraging atmosphere for event management companies.

The Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) is a favourite among MICE planners as it aims to exceed the industry standards by providing service beyond clients' anticipation. With a total venue area of 200,000 m², the QNCC is an attractive aspect of Qatar's MICE tourism sector.

Expanding on this, the 47, 000 m2 Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC) is an additional contribution to the business segment.

Yulia Chelyakova, director, catering and event management, The St. Regis Doha, commented on the rich facilities, "The country's extensive exhibition and function facilities include five star hotels offering high level of services to business travellers and world-class venues such as QNCC and DECE."

The vast selection of business events organised by the tourism authority is strengthening Qatar's image as a business hub.

Commenting on the above theory, Fehlbier said, "As a MICE destination, Qatar combines solid infrastructure, a well-established hospitality industry, huge ball rooms and conference halls, leisure facilities, convenient air links, good weather and a rich hospitable culture. Combined, those factors are being leveraged through the concerted efforts of the Qatar Tourism Authority, the Qatar MICE Development Institute, and Qatar Airways, to turn the country into the ultimate MICE destination in the entire region."

Hotels in Qatar witnessed an increase in demand, with the number of rooms sold increasing by four percent, compared to the same period in 2016, according to Visit Qatar Tourism Performance Summary Q3 2017.

Hotel demand during Q3, 2017 has been supported by a higher average length of visitor stay and is portraying a changing visitor profile, as travellers from distant countries tend to prefer a longer stay.

The importance of the MICE sector in the accommodation industry is evident in hotel professionals such as Franzen who stated, "It provides profitability for rooms and event space that not only helps us to have a strong base business but also provides us an opportunity for high yielding transient business."

Hotels are specialising in corporate tourism and by providing such tailored amenities for business travellers, hotels cultivate a business-friendly atmosphere.

Detecting that business travel in Qatar is rapidly growing due to the hotel's addition of services, Four Seasons Hotel Doha is building an additional ballroom as a response to the increasing demand while it already showcases a world-class ballroom plus five meeting rooms and 10 food and beverages venues.

The array of corporate facilities in the accommodation industry is found in many hotels in Qatar as Karam also emphasised, "The hotel is composed [...] of an extensive range of multi-functional meeting and event spaces, for conferences, exhibitions, meetings, weddings and social events. City Centre Rotana offers a wide range of multi-functional meeting and event rooms in order to meet the different needs of its guests."