Qatar welcomed 2.18 million visitors* in the first nine months of 2016, including 1,087,846 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals, according to Qatar Tourism Authority’s (QTA) Tourism Performance Summary for the third quarter (Q3) of 2016.
Saudi Arabia remains the largest source market and is also responsible for the bulk of the growth recorded in the number of GCC visitor arrivals, up 7% from 2015. A total of 746, 598 Saudi visitors arrived in Qatar between January and September 2016; an 8% increase compared to the same period last year. Substantial growth also was evident from the United Arab Emirates (17%), while arrivals from Bahrain and Kuwait showed an increase rate of 3% and 2% respectively.
According to the report, visitor arrivals growth during the third quarter (Q3) of 2016 has increased in comparison to Q1 and Q2. This reflects, in part, the impact of the two Eid Celebrations in Qatar events and the Qatar Summer Festival that took place through the whole month of August, helping to attract visitors in a typically off-peak season for Qatar.
Upward trends in visitor arrivals in recent months tend to reflect optimism as a further growth rate is expected in the final quarter of the year. This will be driven in part by the beginning of the cruise season – which will bring approximately 30 ships to Qatar’s ports between October 2016 and April 2017. Additionally, QTA’s collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and Qatar Airways to facilitate visitors’ entry to Qatar is expected to further improve arrival trends in the near future.
Meanwhile, hotel occupancy and average room rates were lower compared to the same period in 2015 with an average of 61% across all hotels and hotel apartments through the end of Q3 2016. The decline comes after a 7.1% net increase in the number of available rooms.
Average room rates (ARR) across all hotels and hotel apartments was 491 QAR, and revenue per available room (RevPAR) was 300 QAR. Consistent with usual trends, the highest ARR and RevPAR levels continue to be recorded by the 5-Star and Deluxe Hotel Apartment segments.
QTA is continuing efforts to attract regional and international visitors, through placing special emphasis on working with investors and partners to diversify Qatar’s tourism products. Efforts include broadening QTA’s international presence, particularly in markets that are expected to increase the arrivals to Qatar in the coming years. In this past quarter, QTA has opened representative offices in Istanbul and New York, bringing the total number of QTA’s international offices to eight.
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