New rating system rolled out for Qatar hotels

The Qatar Tourism Authority, together with the GATO International Tourism Organisation for Development & Investment, is rolling out an innovative new hotel classification system.Qatar is currently experiencing enormous development of its tourism infrastructure, especially on the accommodation level as over 8,000 new hotel rooms are under construction. In addition landmark developments, such as the Museum of Islamic Arts, The Pearl - Qatar, Lusail Development, Qatar Science & Technology Park, Al Waab City, Al Khor Area Development, Hamad Medical City and the New Doha International Airport are currently underway.

QTA Chairman Akbar Al Baker said, “Qatar must not strive to become a destination for mass tourism. Its greatest opportunity is to occupy a market niche and to be renown as one of the world’s leading quality destinations for business, leisure, sports, education and medical tourism”.

QTA Acting Director General Jan Poul de Boer added, “The new classification system will establish a high degree of transparency for Qatar’s’ current and future guests and guarantee continued quality of its lodging establishments.”

“This significant vision serves as a guideline for the elaboration of the new classification system. It was especially designed to incorporate Qatari traditions, religious and cultural customs, while at the same time meeting the highest international hotel classification standards,” said GATO Chairman Dr. Erich Kaub.

International benchmarks and guest surveys have clearly indicated that an ever increasing emphasis is placed on service quality. To cater for the shifting consumer demand and to achieve a sustainable development, a two-tiered hotel classification system has been selected for the roll out of the new hotel classification system.

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The first phase will focus on quantitative (hard) factors (such as amount and size of rooms, facilities and services provided), in addition to the cleanliness, maintenance and quality of the building and its furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E). This phase will be compulsory for all lodging establishments.

The inspections will be conducted by a mixed team of designated experts from QTA and GATO. The QTA inspectors, several of them Qatari Nationals, will be thoroughly trained by hospitality experts from GATO in advance to the inspections. Furthermore, a QTA internal quality audit system will be implemented to assure the continuing objectivity and quality standard of the inspectors.

In case the lodging establishment does not fulfil the minimum requirements for the desired category, a deficit report will be issued. The hotelier is hence granted a grace period between 6 to 12 months (in accordance with the magnitude of the deficits) to eliminate all deficits.

However, if an hotelier is in disagreement with the deficit report, it is possible to appeal against the classification.

The second phase will entirely focus on qualitative (soft) factors. It will allow hoteliers to up-grade their bronze rating to a silver or gold classification to indicate outstanding service quality. Nevertheless, the qualitative assessment is voluntary for hoteliers and will only become available once every lodging establishment has been rated in accordance with the quantitative factors.

The primary goal of the new hotel classification system is to improve the overall quality of the Qatari hospitality industry.
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