Qatar’s Hotel Industry
Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) is active in organising initiatives to encourage investment in leisure, business, culture, education and sports. Nevertheless, in order to achieve its highly-set goals, Qatar has identified sports, culture and the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions) sectors as the main ones.
The QTA has adopted an ambitious strategy of increasing number of visitors by 20% over the next five years. Over the same period, QTA plans to spend USD 17 billion on enhancing Qatar’s tourism infrastructure. There is no denying that the FIFA World Cup 2022 will have a positive impact on the hotel industry.
Qatar Tourism Authority stated that there have been tourism increases of 58% from Asia, 19.13% from the Arab world, and 15% from Europe. A total of 72% of this tourism is business motivated.
With around 42 exhibitions in QNCC alone, Qatar has also become a hub for international conferences and trade fairs. The government is working hard to ensure that the infrastructure is in place, with the Doha airport to open in 2013 and the port in 2015.
Approximately 77 hotels are currently planned or under construction according to the QTA. Talking about the investment opportunities, Russell Loughland said that, “Given the rapid growth across Qatar’s various sectors that demand hospitality services, the investment opportunities in Qatar’s hotel industry are enormous. In the past four to five years, Qatar has risen to prominence in the international hospitality industry, and with all eyes on us; this is the ideal opportunity to present unique and creative concepts. Tourism development plans are being implemented to diversify and expand the local economy. Therefore, there is great conviction in building and supporting projects that are unique in atmosphere, design, and most importantly service delivery.”
Qatar is building 77 new hotels and 42 hotel apartments ahead of the FIFA World Cup in 2022, in a bid to accommodate the onslaught of tourists and football fans. Some hotels are also looking at joint ventures.
According QTA, Qatar has attracted over 1,6 million tourists in 2011. The number of foreign visitors recorded at 12.3% increase in the first half of 2011 when compared to the same period in the previous year. One of the interesting facts is that Qatar has faced large increase (39.1%) in visitors from GCC countries, especially from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. These figures had their influence on the hotel occupancy rate which amounted to 63% in the first half of 2011 representing increase of 2% compared to 2010.
However, no task is without its challenges. The main challenges that success brings is maintaining the high standards and internationally renowned reputation that are set by an organization and hiring the right management and team.
With all this activity and the excitement around the World Cup, market dynamics in this industry are bound to change. However, the hotels are all prepared for the impact this will have on competition and prices. With more competition coming, the pricing will be competitive and the levels will be determined by several factors which include the rate of market demand growth and the pricing strategies of the respective hotel brands in the market
This competition is healthy and it will help in keeping the service levels high. Good quality of service brings added value to the destination. Pricing policy will continue to be driven by demand and hotel operators will have to better manage their expenses during soft demand periods.
With QTA setting up the Qatar Hotel Committee back in April 2012 to look into the industry, we can be left in no doubt about the importance of this industry for the economy of Qatar and the investment opportunities that it offers.