Qatar's tourism industry is witnessing a steady growth as a result of new hotel and resort development and more visitors from the GCC visiting. The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) today released new statistics showing results for the third quarter, showing a 4% increase in hotel occupancy over the 2010 figures.
Four and five star hotel revenues also witnessed an increase in revenues during the Summer period, pointing to strong local and regional interest in the sector. This increase coincided with a 24% increase in visitors from nearby Gulf Cooperation countries (GCC) including the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
Announcing the latest statistics, Mr. Ahmed Al Nuaimi, Chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority, said the growth in hotel revenues and visitor figures show the success of the country's national tourism strategy which in turn supports the growth of the country and its aim to diversify the economy.
Mr Al Nuaimi's revealed that average room occupancy rate for hotels in the third quarter for the period from July to September 2011 was 48%, compared with an average room occupancy rate (44%) during the same period of 2010.
Meanwhile July recorded average occupancy rates of 50% versus 48% last year. However September's figures saw an increase of 11% - 55% compared to 44% in 2010.
In terms of revenue, four star hotel revenues in July returned QR38,567,357.30 in 2010 compared to QR43,216,215 in 2011.During the month of August four star revenues increased from QR29,543,991 (2010) to QR93,419,082 (2011), and in the month of September increased from QR33,760,855 (2010) to 45,726,915 (2011)
Meanwhile five star hotel revenues for July increased from QR102,522,918 in 2010 to QR130,687,354 in 2011, and during the month of August rose to QR100,528,69 rom QR85 89,975,337 in 2010 and in September rose from 2010's QR112,132,368 to QR154,344,649 in 2011.
Mr Al Nuami said the results from August, although recording a decline in occupancy rates, actually registered the highest increase in the amount of revenue achieved by the growing four star hotel sector. This rose from QR29,543,991.77 revenue during the third quarter of 2010 to QR93,419,082.26 over the same period this year.
"This reflects a strong local tourism sector during the month of Ramadan, especially in the food and beverage sector where the percentage increase in revenue was around 216%," he said. "This reflects an increase in spending on services in hotels during Ramadan."
"This was also mirrored in the five star sector as revenue rose by 11% from QR89,975,337.93 in 2010 to QR100,528,691.85. This is an amazing result and shows people are spending more at hotels especially on food and beverage."
There are currently 11 new hotels under construction according to the Department of Licensing and Classification. These new developments will add 21,988 new rooms to the country's room inventory. Mr. Al Nuaimi said the new facilities include 74 hotels with 16,811 rooms and 44 serviced apartments with 5177 rooms.
This year also marked a steady increase in the number of tourists from neighbouring Gulf countries. In the third quarter 221,793 tourists from the GCC visited Qatar compared to 178,245 in the same period last year. Visitors from Saudi Arabia made up the bulk of the total Gulf tourists, numbering 136,000 this quarter.
Mr. Ahmed Al Nuaimi said: "The results show the continued flow of Gulf tourists to Doha since the beginning of the year, an increase of 24.9% on last year."
"The sector continues to diversify and grow," Mr. Al Nuaimi said. "This shows great investor confidence in Qatar's hospitality industry and the strategy and direction of the tourism sector."