(MENAFN- Gulf Times) The Qatari Hotels Association (QHA) held Saturday its first virtual bilateral meeting with the Turkish Tourism Investors Association (TTYD) as part of its mission to form a global network with international partners in the hotel and hospitality sector. The meeting was held in the presence of QHA chairman Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani and TTYD president Oya Narin. Turkish ambassador Mehmet Mustafa Goksu and Levent Sadik Kucukdaban, country advisor of the Turkish Presidency Investment Office in Doha, were also present in the meeting.
Omar Alfardan, QHA second deputy to the chairman; Sheikh Hamad bin Mohamed bin Fahd al-Thani, QHA secretary general; Sheikh Fahad bin Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, founding member; Sheikh Mohamed bin Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, founding member; and Sheikh Ahmed al-Thani of Katara Hospitality, as well as QBA deputy general manager Sarah Abdullah attended the meeting.
Both entities introduced their respective members and discussed the status of the hospitality sector in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges facing the sector. The two sides also discussed investment projects and potential cooperation, as well as the necessary steps for their implementation.
Sheikh Faisal said the launch of the first bilateral meeting reflects the strength of Turkish-Qatari ties and the real interest of Qatari businessmen in developing trade and economic relations with their counterparts in Turkey, especially in the field of hospitality and tourism.
He said the QHA seeks to promote Qatar's hotels sector and to promote the country as a tourism investment destination.
Narin said the Turkish Tourism Investors Association was established in 1988 as a non-governmental organisation to become the voice of tourism investors. It is the only business organisation that covers all tourism and travel activities in Turkey, she said, noting that the association includes a high-level membership of major Turkish companies operating in the sector.
Sheikh Faisal also 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.
Alfardan 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 spoke about his company that owns the Four Seasons Hotel in Qatar, as well as Sheikh Hamad as owner of the Intercontinental Hotel in Doha, in addition to Sheikh Ahmed, a Qatari international company owner, operator, and developer of hotels.
TTYD board members introduced the various companies and sectors they represent. Narin introduced herself as Marti Hotels and Marinas chairwoman, and Mehmet Tevfik Nane is TTYD vice president and also president and CEO of Pegasus Airlines, while Pelin Akin Özalp is Akfen Holding Company board member.
Other board members in the meeting are Omer Tosun, president and founder of Indigo Group; Alper Aksoy, representative of Aksoy Contracting and Trading Company; Kas?m Zoto, Armada Hotel founder and president; Ece Gurçay, owner of Cactus Hotel; Mehmet Gocen, board member of Gocay Construction and Contracting; Ayla Heyfegil, owner of Servotel Corporation; Giray Boranms, Bilgili Holding BLG Capital director; and Hale Atlan, TTYD secretary general.
Goksu lauded the strength of Turkish-Qatari relations, saying the meeting is an important step for both entities in the hotel and hospitality 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 centres, leisure and recreation facilities, and golf courses.
The total investment portfolio amounted to about $60bn, which represents a large part of private investments in tourism in Turkey. In addition, the members built and operate many tourism facilities in various countries mainly in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Central Europe, the Middle East, and the Balkans.
The presentation also provided information about the tourism sector in Turkey, which accommodated 52mn with a total income worth $34.5bn. Turkey is also the sixth most preferred tourist destination and contains 463 blue flag beaches.
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 as QHA members reached about 91 hotels. Membership 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 pandemic, which represents a major challenge for the hotel sector and its employees, the sector's investment climate, as well as the measures that have been taken by different organisations that sponsor the hotel sector in Turkey and some international institutions.
They also discussed opportunities for joint cooperation and the“great potential” that Turkey and Qatar enjoy to develop joint projects in the tourism sector. The meeting stressed the importance of the cooperation of various economic institutions, private sector companies, and businessmen in this sector to overcome the impact 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' next year to benefit from the presence of all international investors in the hotel and tourism sector, financial institutions, banks and funds. Sheikh Faisal also invited members of the Turkish association to visit Doha and discuss the available potential investment opportunities.
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