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Thomas Fehlbier Thomas Fehlbier

Q & A With Thomas Fehlbier, General Manager, Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara


TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: How was business in the first half (H1) of the year? How does this compare to H1 2016?

THOMAS FEHLBIER: This year has been quite a surprising year overall. Our first quarter saw a lot of bad weather, which we worried would set the rest of the year’s tone.

However, it actually turned out to be quite the opposite - this year has proved to be one of our most successful years yet.

In June alone, we exceeded our budget by 27 percent and had nearly 100 percent occupancy during Eid Al-Fitr.

Even with the current state of affairs, we saw a big influx of guests from Kuwait and Oman, which was a lovely show of support.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are your main sources markets?

THOMAS FEHLBIER: Our guests were never limited to a few certain countries – we have visitors from all over the world.

Right now though, we are focusing on showing the benefits of the stay-cation at Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara.

It really is the perfect place to get away without going abroad, so we are focusing our efforts on local families and residents.

In addition though, we are also creating incentives for our guests from Kuwait and Oman.

We could not be more appreciative of their support in the past few months and we are always glad to have them as our guests.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What are you doing to attract non-GCC travellers to Qatar?

THOMAS FEHLBIER: Besides all the resort’s amazing facilities, recreational activities, luxury amenities and award-winning restaurants, we are creating additional incentives to attract non-GCC travellers to Qatar.

This summer we introduced the I Love Qatar summer promotion, which offers all guests a 20 percent discount on a two-night stay or 30 percent discount on a three-night stay.

Guests will also be eligible for 15 percent off all the resort’s restaurants and cafés, 15 percent off treatments at the spa and a complimentary game of bowling [...].

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What makes Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara stand out among the competition?

THOMAS FEHLBIER: Our mission is to cater to discerning clientele seeking more than just a getaway but want to be pampered and immersed into a complete and holistic relaxing journey.

Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara offers guests exemplary luxury and a safe retreat from bustling Doha, yet is only a 20-minute journey by luxury ferry. At Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara, we also sustain and propel our brand forward through the superb setting that we have created.

The 141 luxury guest- rooms, suites and villas are designed in splendid Arabian style with signature Anantara touches [...].

Elegantly poised above turquoise waters, the eight two-bedroom Over Water Villas and trio of prestigious three-bedroom Anantara Over Water Villas offer 360 m2 of luxurious space and a 62 m2 personal pool, ideal for families and groups of friends, revealing views of azure sea and unforgettable sunsets from a spacious private deck.

It is a one of a kind experience that no other resort in Qatar delivers.

TRAVEL TRADE WEEKLY: What does the future hold for Qatar’s tourism industry?

THOMAS FEHLBIER: The country’s leadership new direction of offering visa upon arrivals [...] opened up new markets for the tourism industry.

Our collaboration with Qatar Tourism Authority, Discover Qatar and Qatar Airways had created new opportunities in new source markets.

Expanding the range of tourism facilities and activities within Qatar as well as new offerings [will attract visitors], for instance free stay in the city for travellers transiting from Hamad International Airport and free city tours to include Souq Waqif and other cultural facilities.

We are working hand in hand with our travel partners to promote a more efficient tourism strategy, in line with the National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030, to support the planned economic diversification in Qatar and reduce its considerable reliance on energy resources.

It will also help expand the economy, boost the contribution of the tourism sector to the GDP, grow the number of small and medium-sized enterprises, encourage entrepreneurship and a greater role for the private sector in the economy.

Qatar is witnessing a huge growth in the number of visitors from all over the world, and due to all the efforts and support of the government, Qatar is moving towards becoming the hub for both leisure and business tourism.

We are excited about the future and we expect this trend to gain further momentum as we go into the autumn where the weather becomes attractive for travellers to visit the culturally rich Qatar.