Qatar has recorded one of its strongest years yet in terms of visitor numbers, with travellers from the Gulf Cooperation Council region pushing strong hotel occupancy rates, according to new statistics released by the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).
The year 2011 saw a massive jump in the number of visitors from the gulf GCC region, with 50 per cent more than the previous year.
International tourism figures also soared with 12 per cent more visiting Qatar’s shores in 2011.
Approximately 845,633 tourists from the GCC visited Qatar in 2011, compared to 582,134 in 2010 coming from Saudi Arabia.
International visitor arrivals also increased in 2011 with Asian tourists, which accounted 58 per cent of the total visitor numbers.
Tourism from Arab countries increased by 19.13 percent and from European countries by 15 per cent.
Business tourism accounted for 72 per cent of the total number of tourists received by Qatar last year but he said the QTA strategy of targeting high-end tourism was showing results.
This surge in visitor numbers saw one of the strongest years, record for Qatar’s thriving hotel sector with the revenue from four and five star hotels topping QR5 billion and occupancy increasing by 19.25 percent in 2011.
This brings the total number of hotel rooms in Qatar to 11,341 in 2011 (compared to 5,974 in 2010) – an 18.45 per cent increase.
Despite the increase in hotel room stock, occupancy rates in hotels remained steady at 59 percent for the year with January and February recording the highest percentage, spurred by the Asian Football Cup and other large-scale events.
This period also saw an increase in revenue of 19.25 per cent for the five and four stars hotels.
Qatar Convention Centre has moved the destination into the MICE market
With the growth of the tourism sector in Qatar gathering pace, the government has confirmed it will issue new legislation later this month designed to give the QTA more scope for action.
The bill is designed to smooth the development of infrastructure ahead of the FIFA World Cup, scheduled to take place in the destination in the summer of 2022.
New powers to host events and new freedoms to build hotels are to be included in the legislation, reports Gulf News.
“Qatar has everything a high-end traveller needs,” explained QTA director of tourism, Abdullah Mallala Al Badr, “stunning hotels, cultural icons and many leisure activities.”
Al-Badr added the Qatar government has made significant investments to develop the tourism infrastructure in the state over the past five-years, including the construction of new hotels, resorts and other tourism facilities.
Qatar Development Bank is expected to offer finance for further tourism-related projects of Qatari and non-Qatari investors.
New powers will be in place ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Tourism in Qatar
Tourism in Qatar has undergone significant growth in recent years.
Developments, including the new Qatar National Convention Centre, have opened up the MICE market to the destination, while the new Doha International Airport will offer new aviation links when it opens later this year.
The latest coup for QTA will see the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil being an exclusive tour to Doha in July.
The Canadian troupe will present its signature show, Saltimbanco to Doha July 4th-7th at the Aspire Zone and the QTA is working SDI Marketing to bring the extravaganza to Qatar audiences.
“QTA is providing every assistance possible to bring this amazing spectacle to Qatar,” Al Bader.
“Qatar has proven its ability to put on large scale events and Cirque Du Soleil choosing to bring their signature show here further underscores this.
“We know this will attract not just large audiences from within Qatar and beyond our shores and QTA is proud to be able to play a role in enabling it to be staged here.”
The Canada-based Cirque du Soleil Company made its debut in 1984 with a team of 73 people.
The company’s business has now expanded to reach 5,000 employees, including more than 1,300 artists of around 50 nationalities who speak 25 different languages.
More than 150 million audience members have viewed Cirque du Soleil shows over their 28-year history, and 15mn of those saw the Saltimbanco tour at various locations around the world.
The show has recently been performed in Beirut, and set a record for the biggest selling show to be held in Lebanon.
Qatar Tourism Authority recently picked up the title of World’s Leading Business Travel Destination from the prestigious World Travel Awards.
For more information on visit Qatar, please take a look at the official Qatar Tourism Authority website.