Qatar is going to great lengths to not only diversify its economy, but its tourism industry too.

Traditionally reliant on business travellers, QTA is placing a huge focus on attracting leisure guests, so much so, it predicts the segment will make up 64 percent of all arrivals by 2030.

As per the QNTSS 2030 report, the priority areas are culture, urban experiences as well as the MICE industry.

Besides this, a great importance has been placed upon other areas, including sports.

This presents an abundance of opportunities for the country, as Nair explained, "The increase in sports tourism is expected to contribute greatly to the growth in tourism revenues from QAR18 million (USD4.9 million ) in 2016 to QAR37 million (USD10.2 million) in 2025, [...] a compound rate of eight percent."

Qatar has much to offer in this front, providing an amalgamation of its cultural heritage with novel sporting events from around the globe. Richa expanded, "Sport in Qatar is a unique combination of old, traditional sports like camel and horse racing, and new, international sports [...]."

The country has shown its commitment to broadening its leisure offerings by hosting a steady calendar of world-class sporting competitions including UCI Road Cycling World Championship in 2016, FIG Artistic World Gymnastics Championships in 2018, followed by the 2019 IAAF World Championships, outlined by Nair.

Perhaps considered the pinnacle of sports events, the 2022 FIFA World Cup is expected to draw in more than one million visitors during the four-week event, noted Marcus Sutton, general manager, Crowne Plaza, Doha.

To put this into perspective, the figure comes in at almost half the total annual arrivals in 2016.

It is no wonder that the country's tourism facilities are developing at such a pace, especially when considering that FIFA has set Qatar a target of having 60,000 rooms to accommodate the vast number of sports fans during the tournament.

As well as hotels, QTA is extending its offerings to dedicated desert camps, and as a way to capitalise on its booming cruise sector, plans to offer a minimum of 6,000 keys on cruise ships in order to meet expectations.

As the first Middle Eastern country to host the lucrative football tournament, Qatar has put itself in the international spotlight, with the whole world watching its growth ahead of the competition.

As Sutton noted, "The investment momentum leading to the 2022 FIFA World Cup is in fast pace with large investments in transport and urban infrastructure, hotels and leisure facilities [...]."

By QTA estimates, Qatar is expected to spend a whopping USD25 billion on its preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a breathtaking figure that comes in at around 10 times the amount that 2010 hosts, South Africa, spent.

However, this number includes not just the construction of top-of-the-range stadiums with innovative cooling technology, but wider infrastructure that is all part of Qatar National Vision 2030.

A wealth of cultural and entertainment projects are also underway, including, but not limited to, National Museum of Qatar, the Msheirab district and Lusail City, not forgetting the all important Doha Metro, set to revolutionise the capital's transport system.

A number of initiatives have already been implemented to boost the number of arrivals.

Making the most of its position as a hub of air connectivity, QTA, in collaboration with Qatar's Ministry of Interior and Qatar Airways, recently revised its visa requirements.

Now, travellers with a minimum transfer time of five hours are able to stay in the country for up to four days without the need to apply for an entry visa ahead of time and available at no cost.

Additionally, while the majority of its visitors hail from the GCC, QTA has expanded its international presence with the opening of offices in New York, London, Paris, Singapore, Berlin, Milan and Istanbul as well as Riyadh, given that Saudi citizens represent the lion's share of arrivals.

Furthermore, QTA is actively participating in various trade shows and is dedicated in growing a rich calendar of festivals and events such as Qatar International Food Festival and Qatar Summer Festival.

Another important addition to this year's schedule is an inaugural month-long shopping festival, which aims to make the most of tourist expenditure.

Shopping tourism is an invaluable source of income, which, in 2014, generated QAR6 billion (USD1.64 billion), significantly more than hotel bookings or food and beverage.