Hotels gear up to welcome more tourists; 1.05 million visit Qatar in first 4 months

Amid stiff competition with the opening of several new hotels across the city, the hospitality industry is expecting a surge in business after the summer holidays with an expected rise in the number of guests and business tourists.

Hotels are expecting more than 75 percent occupancy rate from October, after it fell to 50-60 percent since April. Visitors from other GCC states dominate tourist inflow in Qatar.

Although business is expected to increase from September-end, December, January, February and March are usually the busy months for hotels in terms of occupancy due to pleasant weather, say industry sources. Most cultural and business events take place during these months, attracting more visitors to the country.

The April-September season is considered lean as hotels receive lesser number of guests. However, better occupancy rates during the Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha holidays help them offset their losses to some extent.

“Hotels in the city have a better occupancy rate during winter. New attractions and entertainment events attract tourists to the country during this season.

“We receive more guests from other GCC states,” a senior official of the Gulf Paradise Hotel told The Peninsula yesterday.

“Even during summer, Qatar Tourism Authority has taken steps to promote tourism and help hotels increase their occupancy rate,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, four-star hotels had 72 percent  occupancy and three-star hotels 62 percent last December.

The occupancy rate of five-star hotels was 64 percent and one- and two-star hotels saw an occupancy rate of 69 percent during the period.

The occupancy rate was between 55 percent and 65 percent in June and July last year. Data shows that occupancy rate for April this year fell by 8 percent to 64 percent from the corresponding month last year.

A total of 1.28 million visitors came to Qatar during the first five months of this year — a rise of 21 percent compared to the first four months in 2015.

Around 1.05 million people visited Qatar between January and April this year. They included 598,702 visitors from other GCC states, over 294,980 from other Asian countries, including Oceania region, and 199,170 from Europe.

Hotels in Qatar have been witnessing a steady increase in the number of business tourists as Doha emerges as a top business destination with corporate guests occupying more than 60 percent of hotel rooms.

“Definitely, hotel occupancy goes up coinciding with conferences in Doha. How much occupancy increases depends on the nature of the conferences. Only one or two hotels would benefit from local events or smaller meetings,” said a spokesperson at the Grand Hyatt Doha.

The number of hotel rooms in Qatar is expected to reach about 23,000 by end of this year, with a 27 percent annual growth.

Author:  Fazeena Saleem

Source: The Peninsula

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