About 23,000 four- and five-star hotel keys in Qatar are at various stages of planning and construction to be completed prior to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, according to DTZ Qatar, a leading real estate services entity.
Luxury accommodation still dominates the market with more than 85% of overall supply currently categorised as either 4-Star or 5-Star, DTZ Qatar said in a report, quoting the National Tourism Council (NTC).
Despite the fall in tourist numbers, occupancy rates in hotels have remained stable, it said.
According to the NTC, the overall occupancy rate for 2018 was 61%, which is a 3% increase in the 2017’s figure.
DTZ said there has been a significant increase in domestic tourism (‘staycations’), especially in 5-Star establishments, while overnight stays for regional business travelers have increased since the introduction of the blockade.
Overall occupancy rates have also been boosted by the popularity of hotel apartments with long-stay guests/full-time residents, it said.
The NTC has introduced several measures to counteract the fall in tourist arrivals since 2016 and to boost the hotel sector, including the introduction of e-visas, free 96-hour transit visas, and visa-free arrivals for more than 80 countries.
As a result, there has been an increase in arrivals from Russia and China (top two countries in terms of growth since 2013) where NTC opened representative offices in 2018, with India boasting the highest absolute increase.
Consequently, Qatar now ranks as the most open country in the Middle East and the 8th most open country in the world according to the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) visa openness rankings.
According to NTC’s 2018 annual report, a total number of available rooms in December 2018 was 25,917, contained in 124 hotel and hotel apartment establishments.
DTZ research shows that this number has increased by almost 700 rooms in the first quarter with the opening of The Mandarin Oriental and M Gallery in Msheireb, as well as VIP Hotel on C-Ring Road.