Qatar tourism to benefit from $40bn in investments
In their quest to diversify Qatar’s economy away from oil and gas, officials are continuing to bet big on the emirate’s tourism sector. At the Hospitality Qatar 2016 expo, it was announced that Qatar’s hospitality sector would receive $40bn in investments over the next 15 years, which would result in an additional 105 hotels.
As part of Qatar’s continued efforts to reduce its economy’s dependence on the oil and gas industry, the emirate continues to bet big on the tourism sector and has announced plans for $40bn in investments for the sector over the course of the next 15 years. Under the investment plans, which were announced at the Hospitality Qatar 2016 expo, it is expected that nearly 105 hotels will be constructed adding approximately 21000 rooms.
In terms of arrivals, Qatar has recorded a relatively strong performance thus far in 2016 as it has managed to once again cross the two million mark with 2.18 million visitors from January to September 2016. However there are some concerns about the broader trend with fewer visitors as compared to the same period in 2015 when the emirate welcomed 2.25 million visitors by the end of September. Added to the issue of fewer arrivals, is the trend of hotel room supply outstripping demand, this has been true particularly in Doha’s West Bay district. A recent market update noted that hotel occupancy in Qatar was down 3.3 per cent in 2015 when compared in 2014 with only the four star segment recording a year on year increase in occupancy.
Despite these factors officials and key stakeholders remain hopeful. The general manager of the Ritz-Carlton Sharq Village Wael Maatouk noted that Doha, while currently is primarily thought of as a business destination, is on the brink of becoming a key holiday destination. Maatouk’s sentiments on Doha’s long term growth potential were echoed by associate director at TRI Consulting Christopher Hewett who stated:
“As key leisure infrastructure continues to develop, including a number of super regional malls and large leisure projects, we expect Doha to attract an increasing number of regional GCC visitors as well as stopover transit passengers using Qatar Airways”.
In the meantime all is not lost for 2016 either with arrivals expected to pick up in Q4. A spokesperson for the Qatar Tourism Authority highlighted that the 2016/2017 cruise season (which begins in October each year) was now underway with 32 ships with over 50 000 visitors on board already registered to dock at Doha’s harbours.
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