With the release of the QTA 2014 Annual Toursim Statistics, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) announced that the tourism industry in Qatar continued its strong performance in 2014.
All key indicators demonstrated improvement and growth. Qatar is rapidly becoming an important destination for international travelers, with continued major investments in the tourism sector. Visitor arrivals to Qatar grew by 8.2% from 2013, and the longer run trend is even more impressive with an average annual growth of 13.8% over the past five years.
Tourism represents an important part of a diversified Qatar economy. Although still in its early stages of development, the tourism sector already directly contributes QR13.6 billion to GDP, representing 4% of non-extraction economy. The total economic impact of tourism, including indirect impacts, tallies QR28 billion and comprises 8.3% of total non-extraction GDP. Tourism also contributes substantially to the Qatar job market with 61,000 jobs directly supported by the industry.
International travelers visit Qatar in increasing numbers
Qatar continues to emerge as a destination for international travelers. The country received more than 2.8 million visitors in 2014, representing 8.2% growth over 2013. since 2009, international visits to Qatar have increased 91% with an average annual rate of growth of 13.8%.
The Qatar visitor market is diverse. In 2014, 40% of visitors came from other GCC countries, while 28% originated from various parts of Asia and Oceania, and 15% came from Europe. Visits from all world regions have grown substantially over the past five years. Asian and GCC visitor markets have expanded 107% and 102%, respectively, since 2009. Visits from Europe have also surged 82% over the past five years.
QTA major achievements
In 2014, the QTA worked towards implementing the Qatar national Tourism sector strategy. They opened satellite offices in Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Germany, in addition to their existing two offices in the UK and France, as one means for expanding their footprint and achieving their goal of 7 to 9 million visitors by 2030.
QTA also continued work with the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) to upgrade their policies and regulations to the highest international standards and to develop human capital for the tourism sector, both here in Qatar and across the region. QTA signed the Global Code of Ethics Tourism, intended to minimise the GDP environment and cultural heritage, effort and undertake further initiatives 2.0 while maximising the benefits for to develop the tourism sector. In addition, QTA organised a variety of successful events and festivals, including the Eid festivals and summer festival, which attracted huge numbers from Qatar and GCC.
Driving strong hotel performance
Hotels experienced strong performance in 2014. Occupancy rates increased across all classes of hotels last year. Average hotel occupancy reached 73% in 2014 compared to 65% in 2013. The largest gains were experienced in the 5-star segment which realised a jump to 71% last year from 61% in 2013. These strong gains in demand translated into revenue increases across the entire industry. revPAr (revenue per available room) increased 8.3% in 2014 with particularly strong performance in the 5 and 3 star segments which saw revPAr gains of 9.5% and 15.5%, respectively.
More development on the way
Qatar was home to nearly 16,000 hotel and hotel apartment rooms on average throughout 2014. This includes 85 hotel properties and 22 hotel apartment entities. Five-star hotel properties lead the way with 7,748 rooms across 33 properties.
As Qatar anticipates continued increases in international visitation and prepares for major events, such as the World Cup in 2022, significant hotel capacity is under development. room supply is set to more than double in the coming years with 66 hotels and 14 hotel apartments planned for opening in the next five years. In 2015 alone, QTA anticipates the opening of 20 new properties, which would add nearly 4,000 rooms to Qatar’s accommodation portfolio in the coming year. Aside from properties currently under construction, there are proposals for nearly 50 additional properties, under varying degrees of development, for additional expansion in future years.