Multi-billion dollar tourism investment in Qatar
By 2026 Qatar's tourism sector’s contribution is set to reach $22bn or 7.3% of GDP, up from $13bn in 2015
In the years leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar plans to almost double tourism income as visitor numbers grow.
By 2026, the tourism sector’s contribution is predicted to reach QAR81.2bn ($22bn) or 7.3% of GDP, up from QAR48.5bn ($13bn) in 2015, according to the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), The National reported.
In 2015 the sector comprised 2.2% of the country’s total spending, which is expected to rise by 8.6% per year to 2026.
By 2026, leisure spending is expected to reach QAR44.9bn ($12.3bn) while business travel spending is expected to rise to QAR17.5bn ($4.8bn) in 2026.
As Qatar works towards its 2030 goal to welcome 10 million visitors a year and generate $17.8bn in tourism earnings, it is experiential travel that is driving tourism growth, the main theme of the Arabian Travel Market 2017 (ATM 2017).
Research released ahead of ATM 2017, Qatar is planning to generate 5.2% of its GDP through tourism over the coming years, generating 98,000 jobs while handling an inventory of 63,000 hotel rooms.
In addition, under the national tourism sector strategy 2030, Qatar is set to invest up to $45bn in new developments which include earmarking $2.3bn for 2022 World Cup facilities and $6.9bn for transport infrastructure and associated projects.
Simon Press, the ATM senior exhibition director outlined that Qatar’s national 2030 tourism sector strategy will gradually increase tourism numbers over the coming decade, “with the first milestone of four million visitors a year by 2020, well on track” he added.
“The government, hotel operators, airlines and other stakeholders are now beginning to see a return on their investment into the country’s tourism sector,” he commented.
According to the QTA, within the region, Qatar is among the fastest-growing destinations in terms of visitor arrivals, averaging growth of 11.5% over the past five years. The authority recorded arrivals of 2.18 million visitors in the first nine months of 2016, including more than one million GCC nationals in the figure.
In 2016, Qatar’s Hamad International Airport (HIA) witnessed an increase in passenger traffic of 20%, handling about 37.3 million passengers, which equates to a rise of 7.3 million from the previous year, partly attributed to Qatar Airways’ addition of 14 new destinations last year.
The airline has also recently announced the world’s longest flight by duration – a 17-plus hour route from Auckland to Doha.
The QTA added that the cruise season – from October 2016 to April 2017 – will also boost arrivals in 2017 and added that up to 30 ships are expected to dock in Doha during the current season, generating 55,000 visitors.
This could reach as many as 250,000 passengers by the 2018/19 season.
Qatar currently has 22,921 hotel rooms with a further 15,956 rooms under contract to handle the expected demand. This represents a 69% increase in total stock in the current pipeline.
Nevertheless, Qatar experienced a decline in hotel performance across all key metrics over 2016, with overall occupancy dropping 12.2% and RevPAR, or revenue per room, falling by 18.8%.