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JOSEPH COUBAT has been named by Rotana as area vice president for Qatar, Lebanon, Kuwait, Turkey, Congo and Syria, and as general manager of Gefinor Rotana Beirut.

The start of Qatar’s cruise season was marked with the two-day docking of what is said to be the largest privately owned yacht, The World.

During the recent Great GM Debate in Dubai, Ferghal Purcell, general manager, The Ajman Palace Hotel, emphasised the increasing importance of the MICE segment to the region.

In an effort to promote Qatar as a top stopover destination, Qatar Airways, Qatar Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Interior have collaborated to revise the country's transit visa scheme, allowing passengers to stay for up to 96 hours without the need to apply for an entry visa.

In a bid to draw in more visitors, Qatar Airways and Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) have signed an agreement with VFS Global to establish a transparent and efficacious tourist visa application system.

SHERIEF ABOUELMAGD has been named general manager at Meliá Doha, Qatar. After graduating from Florida International University, Abouelmagd began his career with Marriott International and has since accumulated over 28 years of experience in the industry.

When and how did you get involved in the tourism industry? We started as a small brick and mortar travel shop out of Sharjah and now are a leading online travel agency based in India and the UAE.

In an attempt to amplify its image, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) aligned its corporate existence with the Qatar destination brand and unified the organisation’s online presence under a single domain name.

IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF THE YEAR (H1), 1.4 MILLION TRAVELLERS ENTERED QATAR, SIX PERCENT LESS THAN IN THE EQUIVALENT PERIOD IN 2015, DUE TO THE TIMING OF RAMADAN. The six-month period saw a year-on-year decrease of 15 percent

When and how did you get involved in the tourism industry? I worked in a resort hotel in the Philippines way back [in] 2002 until I got [the] opportunity to work abroad and joined Regency Travel & Tours [in] 2006.