New Delhi, INDIA – A summit on global travel trends that brought together industry leaders from around the world was the focus of a three-day conference in India at which Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al Baker was among the main speakers.
The 5th Global Travel and Tourism Summit, organised by the World Travel and Tourism Council, saw a number of high-profile Chief Executives, Managing Directors and Chairmen of leading travel companies meeting in the Indian capital New Delhi.
The summit was opened by the Honourable President of India, Dr Abdul Kalam.
Al Baker was among the panelists during debates at the summit at which the main theme was ‘Realising the Potential’. The main conference centred on removing barriers to competition, creating prosperity and empowering people to understand the full potential of the travel and tourism industry.
Speaking on the debate “The Power to Influence Destination Success”, Al Baker said it was crucial for the success of any industry to improve infrastructure, remove red tape and for all players to work in harmony.
At the same time, he said, attracting tourists should not have any detrimental impact on the conservation and preservation of national monuments, heritage structures and the natural environment. Careful tourism planning was essential to develop a profitable and sustainable tourism industry, he emphasised.
Al Baker, who is also Chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority, explained that Qatar was an evolving destination and a perfect place to build a tourist infrastructure around its pristine beaches and natural environment.
He said the country had already begun implementing its multi-billion dollar tourism masterplan with new facilities such as museums, luxury hotels and resorts such as The Pearl Island already under construction.
At the debate focusing on the ‘Importance of Innovation’, Al Baker said that in a highly competitive industry like aviation, innovation held the key to success.
Qatar Airways, he said, was one of the fastest growing airlines in the world, enjoying unprecedented growth because it focused on new and modern planes, as well as product innovation.
Al Baker said Qatar Airways had developed into an industry leader and proud to be a step ahead of the rest by becoming the first Middle East carrier to introduce fully flat First Class sleeper beds.
And with the largest seat pitch and biggest individual TV entertainment screens across all cabins of its long-haul aircraft in the region, Qatar Airways had made significant inroads in the industry, explained Al Baker.
The summit was also an opportunity for the industry’s most influential people to network with their peers from both the public and private sector.
The World Travel and Tourism Council is a forum for global business leaders, representing 100 of the most important travel and tourism companies in the world, including major airlines, tour operators, and hotel chains. It is the only body representing the private sector in all parts of the travel and tourism industry worldwide.
Doha-based Qatar Airways will operate a fleet of 110 aircraft by 2013 – almost double the existing size. Qatar Airways has ordered 80 Airbus A350s, 60 Boeing 787s and 32 Boeing 777s, with deliveries of the latter having started in November 2007. The airline is a launch customer of the twin-deck Airbus A380 ‘super jumbos’ with five aircraft on order and scheduled for delivery from 2010. Qatar Airways moves to the New Doha International Airport in 2010, when the first phase of the new facility opens. For more information, visit www.ndiaproject.com
Qatar Airways is one of only six airlines in the world with a Five Star ranking for service and excellence awarded by Skytrax, the independent aviation industry monitoring agency. Skytrax also named Qatar Airways’ cabin crew as Best in the Middle East for the fifth year running in 2007 following a survey of more than 15 million passengers worldwide. For more information, log onto www.qatarairways.com
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