Invest: Miami speaks with Akbar Al-Baker, CEO, Qatar Airways

Miami-Dade County holds a crucial space in both the U.S. and global travel markets. Its aviation industry is evolving to bring more passengers into and out of Miami International Airport (MIA), with improved operations and safety, and a focus on delivering a higher standard of service to the global traveler, both business and leisure. In fact, MIA is recognized worldwide as the crossroads of many diverse cultures and the increase in long-haul international air travel the airport has had improves growth potential across different economic sectors. Based on these factors, we look at Miami, in particular MIA, as the right partner to grow with.
Today, Qatar Airways is the only direct access to the Middle East that Miami-Dade County and Florida have. Our world travelers are very curious about Miami and have always been fascinated with its vibrant lifestyle and rich culinary, musical and cultural traditions. Our first year servicing MIA has been very successful. As a result of strong demand, we have decided to increase the frequency of flights from five times a week to daily scheduled service after just one year of operations.
Qatar Airways is heavily invested in Miami, as are other Qatari companies. We have strong partnerships with the travel, trade and marine industries, and support overall tourism efforts in South Florida. The Doha-Miami connection is thriving, and not from tourism alone. Growing linkages in art, fashion and a burgeoning international business community make this route a dynamic one. We have already seen that both cities have a strong appetite to learn from and share with one another. Some of the areas of mutual interest include luxury travel and tourism, entertainment and hospitality.
In 2014, Florida had a record year in tourism revenue, and new connections that bridge the East and West have contributed to this. As Latin America continues to elevate its global profile, Miami’s close ties with that region will become more important. The world wants to visit Miami and providing passengers access to this city, not only as a destination, but as a portal to Latin America and the Caribbean, increases both fascination and revenue.