Cebu Pacific general manager for Long Haul Division Alex Reyes.
By Peter Alagos/Business Reporter
Jobs generated by big-ticket projects in Qatar’s tourism industry would benefit many Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) seeking employment in Qatar, an official of the low-cost carrier Cebu Pacific said.
As part of its strategy to diversify from the oil and gas industry, Qatar has identified tourism as among the major sectors that would help propel the country’s economic growth.
“That kind of thrust is very well-suited for OFWs for many reasons. One is that Filipinos are known for being service-oriented and also, we have a good command of the English language,” Alex Reyes, general manager of Cebu Pacific’s Long Haul Division told Gulf Times.
“We can see that there are more and more Filipinos coming to Qatar for employment. The job opportunities being offered here keep increasing and that’s what excites us, there’s growth in traffic, as well as growth in trade between the two countries,” he added.
Reyes was in Qatar to officially launch the budget airline’s maiden flight to Doha, which arrived from Manila on Friday.
According to Reyes, Cebu Pacific’s major target is the Filipino community in Qatar, which he described as “a growing population.”
“The primary market that we serve is the 200,000-strong OFW community in Qatar, and that is the whole reason why we started our long-haul operations and the population keeps increasing,” he said.
Reyes also said the influx of OFWs working in the hospitality sector could help boost Qatar’s tourism industry in light of the various tourism-related infrastructure projects being undertaken by the government.
“Qatar’s economy is quite dynamic and thriving; there’s more tourism and attractions that are being built, which means Qatar will need more hotel rooms and a lot of retail establishments. Aside from the energy sector, Qatar will also require human capital to push its tourism economy,” Reyes said.
The Cebu Pacific official’s statement reflects significant statistics from the Qatar Tourism Authority’s annual report, which said the country’s tourism sector generated 61,000 jobs in 2014.
“The economic impact of tourism, including indirect contributions, totalled QR28bn (about $7.6bn), comprising 8.3% of Qatar’s non-extraction GDP,” the QTA said.
For 2015, the QTA said in the report that Qatar’s tourism industry continued its growth in the first quarter of the year. The report shows all key indicators of the tourism sector demonstrated improvement and growth compared to the same quarter of 2014.