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Qatar plans to attract 1.1 million visitors in 2010

In 2004, the number of visitors to Qatar stood at 500,000

Manama: Qatar is working on attracting around 1.1 million visitors in 2010, the chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority has said.

"Around one million tourists visited Qatar in 2009 and we expect this number to grow by 10 percent this year," Ahmad Bin Abdullah Al Nuaimi said.

"The rate of occupancy of hotel rooms was 70 percent during the first quarter of 2010. The number of hotel rooms has jumped from only 2,700 to 8,500, and will reach 15,000 by 2011. The number of hotel rooms and furnished apartments is projected to reach 30,000 by 2013," he said, quoted by Qatari daily The Peninsula.

In 2004, the number of visitors to Qatar stood at 500,000. The authorities have taken several measures to boost tourism in the country, including the construction of a new exhibition centre with a total area of 80,000 square metres that will be completed by the end of 2012.

The tourism authority has adopted a marketing plan to promote Qatar as a promising tourism destination, a venue for conventions, and a hub for business, culture and heritage.

It is also promoting the country in collaboration with international players and decision-makers through bilateral agreements and strategic partnerships.

The new $14.5 billion international airport, scheduled to open at the end of 2012, will be used to boost transit business.

With an initial handling capacity of 25 million passengers a year, the airport will eventually cater to 48 million passengers. The number of people going through Doha is expected to reach 2.5 million by 2015.