INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Pushing Frontiers - Qatar develops its offer

Qatar lies halfway along the coast of the Arabian Gulf and borders Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE. Just a third the size of Belgium, the country is fast developing its infrastructure and its C%26I offer.

Qatar Airways operates 11 flights weekly from Heathrow to Doha International Airport and plans to double its fleet to serve more than 50 destinations.

The airline has also launched Discover Qatar, a destination management service based in the UK.

CMS Events hosted a recent fam trip to the state and managing director Martyn Steele was impressed by what the destination has to offer. "The infrastructure is in place. The fact that so many premium hotels are opening shows the confidence in its future, he noted.

Many of the new hotels are based in the capital Doha, where Inter-Continental, Sheraton, Marriott, Movenpick and Ritz-Carlton have all opened four- and five-star properties. The 374-room Ritz-Carlton offers more than 2,000 sq m of meeting space and the Sheraton Doha Conference Centre can accommodate up to 5,000 delegates.

Popular incentive activities in Qatar include desert dune driving, camel racing and diving. Qatar also offers a championship golf course. Steele is confident the country can compete with others in the Gulf region in attracting incentive groups. "You can sand-ski one minute and be swimming in the sea the next, he said. "Plus there is the bonus of rounding off the programme with a barbeque on a deserted beach."

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