Qatar occupancy rate up 9 points in Q1 on higher regional travel

QATAR Hotel occupancy across Qatar is up noticeably in the first quarter, driven by surging inbound travel from other Gulf Cooperation Council states.

The number of GCC visitors to Qatar has increased by 48% year over year, to 213,000 tourists, according to Qatar Tourism Authority data. Saudi Arabia represents the biggest source market gain, jumping 64% to 118,000 travelers during the quarter.

Total occupancy stands at 68%, compared to 59% a year prior.

RevPAR is growing at a considerable rate in the Middle East nation, which has seen a spike in tourism since being named the host of the 2022 FIFA World Cup last year. Revenue from 5-star hotels is up nearly 20% year over year during the quarter, and the Asian Football Cup held during January helped drive 5-star RevPAR up 60% for the month.

The tourism authority reports 77 hotels and 42 transient apartment projects under construction in Qatar, which are expected to add a combined 21,107 guestrooms to the national inventory. Approximately 6,400 guestrooms and 35 properties are scheduled to come online this year.

Tourism authority Chairman Ahmed Al Nuami says the results affirm Qatar’s capacity to host major events and support the hospitality industry’s growth strategies there. “These statistics are a great boost and prove that Qatar is a destination to hold large-scale events,” Al Nuami says. “We are expecting a bumper year in 2011 with the World Petroleum Congress and the Arab Games both being held in late 2011.

“Both these events and our growing reputation in the MICE sector for hosting meetings and events have cemented Qatar as a destination with a lot to offer. With new hotel openings planned in coming months, this shows the confidence that the business and hospitality sector has in Qatar’s current and potential growth.”