Alun Cairns announces trade visit to Qatar to strengthen UK links with Middle East industry

“Wales – Qatar flight link shows our nation is open for business”

Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns will aim to the strengthen the dynamic partnership between the UK and the Middle East when he visits Qatar later this month.

Mr Cairns will meet with senior executives from Qatar Airways and meet with other potential investors to foster more business opportunities between Wales and Qatar.

The announcement comes on the day that it was confirmed that the new Cardiff to Doha service on Qatar Airways will take to the skies on 1 May 2018 with tickets on sale from today.

Mr Cairns, who held regular talks with senior managers at Qatar Airways to make the case for a service from Wales, said:

Qatar’s reputation in aviation is exemplary and Britain’s open and business-oriented economy has clearly been a magnet for the company’s decision to launch a service from Wales.

This new route will send a positive message about an outward looking Wales developing international trade and tourism links to the rest of the world. I look forward to seeing the aircraft emblazoned with Qatar Airways livery take off from our capital’s airport next spring.

Qatar is already the UK’s third largest export market in the Middle East and also accounts for £35 billion of existing investment in the UK. Bilateral trade is valued at more than £5 billion per year and the relationship between the two countries continues to go from strength to strength.

Mr Cairns joined the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox at the biggest ever Qatar-UK trade show to be held in Britain in Birmingham earlier this year where he highlighted Wales’ unique offer to potential inward investors from the Middle East.

Speaking ahead of his visit to the Middle East later this month, Mr Cairns said:

Qatar is one of the UK’s most important commercial partners. The bonds between us are already very strong but this visit, I’m sure, will give us the opportunity to build upon and strengthen those relationships.

Welsh businesses have so much to offer to the Middle East - and vice versa. It is crucial that we continue to work together to foster these links, in the hope of generating further business, education and cultural links to benefit the UK as a whole.