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INTERVIEW WITH PAUL D’ARCY, QNCC GENERAL MANAGER

 
 

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Construction Progress

Construction Progress to Date

The construction of the one of the Middle East’s largest convention and exhibition centres, the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) is well on track for completion and opening in 2011.  Stage 1 of the Convention Centre building is now fully enclosed. In the next two months, sections of the interior will be ready for ‘hard-hat’ viewing with two of the auditoria fitted out with tiered seating in place. The iconic Sidra Tree branch façade is changing colour daily with six undercoats being applied.

QNCC’s General Manager, Paul D’Arcy said “our first high profile event will be the World Petroleum Congress in December 2011, and we expect to have many local and regional events prior to this, the majority being sourced from the various institutes and members of the Qatar Foundation.”

QNCC committed to long-term success
QNCC is committed to the positioning of Qatar to become known as one of the world’s most inspirational destinations to host international conventions. QNCC is aware that it is their responsibility to be actively involved in identifying the challenges facing the meetings industry and the insufficient research data available.

That is why QNCC is one of the first platinum sponsors for Conventions 2020 strategic research study launched last week. Global industry heavy weights, the International Convention & Congress Association (ICCA), IMEX Exhibitions, and Fast Future Research are the founders of this research program designed to take a wide ranging and forward looking perspective for the future of live events, venues and meetings destinations.

QNCC General Manager, Paul D’Arcy said ‘as we head towards our opening next year, this research will help us shape our business model to best meet the needs and demands of the global meetings industry.  Following the vision of Qatar Foundation's Chairperson, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al Missned, our aim is to set the benchmarks for the industry in the Middle East in terms of venue design, service excellence and corporate and social responsibility.  The breadth of this study will assist us in achieving these goals and remaining relevant well into the future.”

What challenges have you faced marketing a new centre in a relatively new meetings destination in today's economic climate?
With Qatar's vibrant economy still growing at 9.2% per annum in 2009 and expected to reach a staggering 24.5% in 2010 we have not faced the same challenges as other parts of the world. 

Infrastructure projects such as the new Doha International Airport, with stage one to be operational in 2012 and the building of many new hotels have continued at breakneck speed. Their scheduled completion will coincide with the Centre's opening in 2011. 

Meeting planners can also be assured that Doha can deliver the support services required. The city has successfully hosted 13,000 Athletes from 45 nations during the 2006 Asian Games and the World Petroleum Council will hold their prestigious congress during our opening year with around 5,000 attendees.

Now that our "Marketing Platform" is complete with the finalisation of our new website, brochure and other e-marketing tools the response from the market continues to be very positive.

What green or sustainability initiatives have been implemented in the Centre's design?
QNCC is the first convention and exhibition centre of its kind to be built to the premium standard of the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. It is an internationally recognised benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance.

From design stage, we placed a great deal of importance on sustainability. It is a key issue in the industry today and we are committed to ensuring targets are met in areas such as water savings, energy efficiency and indoor environment quality.   For example, the Centre will house 3,676m2 or 12,000 sqft of solar panels that occupy 7,080m2 or 23,000 sqft of roof area to produce 12½% of the buildings total electrical requirement.

With technology moving at such a rapid pace, how do know what will be required in 2011?  
Simply put we don't!! However, the building has been designed with the very latest technology infrastructure which will allow us to "hang" the most up to date technology off it.  We will include systems such as Cisco Tele Presence in the belief that this technology will support our industry rather than detract from it.

Other initiatives include interactive LCD screens for public use measuring 5 meters long by 2 meters high, Radio Frequency Identification Device (RFID) for tracking of delegates as well as building assets and a totally wireless conference management system.

What do you believe will be the most important factors in determining your company's success in 2010?  
QNCC is a member of Qatar Foundation, a non-profit organisation founded by His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar. The foundation has a conviction to create Qatar’s legacy of educational and scientific achievement.

More than 30 elite institutions are also members including top American universities such as Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown, Northwestern, Texas A&M, Virginia Commonwealth and Weill Cornell. In partnership, we will encourage these leaders to bid for international conventions to expose their research activities to the world.

If you could influence the industry, what would your legacy be and why?
The first would be the eradication of the acronym  "MICE" from our industry.  Whilst not prevalent in North America, it is in this region and Asia Pacific. My view is that we are in the ‘Meetings’ or ‘Business Events’ industry.

The second would be to influence the industry to be more cohesive so that we could clearly enunciate to the world (governments, cities etc) the true value of our business.


For further images to support this media release, visit www.qatarconvention.com

For further information, please contact:

Mr Paul D’Arcy, General Manager    
Qatar National Convention Centre
Education City, PO Box 34195, Doha, Qatar     
t: +974 454 6000 f: +974 454 6005
e: pdarcy@qatarconvention.com
www.qatarconvention.com


 
 

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