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For Qatari residents: Do you prefer a summer or winter World Cup 2022?

Rooms with a view for 2022

Written by  Author |   Tue, 13 August 2013 09:09

Qatar continues to ascend as one of the fastest growing tourism destinations in the Middle East. While it has already gained popularity as a focal hub for business tourism, the country strives to establish itself as a leisure destination, backed by massive spending plans in the context of preparations for hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Figures by Ernst and Young for four and five star hotel performance in Doha show that occupancy was at 61% in 2012, reporting a slight decrease of 3% compared to 2011 levels. Activity seem to be rebounding this year as occupancy in the first four months of 2013, at 74%, is 3% higher than the one registered in the same period of 2012. The direct contribution of travel and tourism to Qatar's GDP reached $3.35 billion (1.8% of total GDP) in 2012, as per the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC). It is forecasted to rise by 7.1% in 2013, and by 4% per annum in real terms, until 2023, one year after the World Cup.

Qatar has previously stated a target for attracting high income tourists focusing on business travel and high-end luxury vacations. However, a new strategy of "diversification" seems to be underway, aiming at entertaining the range of tourism facilities and activities as well as hotel accommodations. In addition, the government intends to involve the private sector in the process, especially when it comes to developing leisure tourism, where the government would be the strategy designer without necessarily owning or itself being the developer.

The Qatar Tourism Authority has targeted a growth rate in the tourism industry of 20% in the next five years. Along with the awaited $15.5 billion new Doha International Airport, an expansion in hotel capacity is on track. The airport has an estimated capacity to handle, after total completion, 50 million passengers and 320,000 planes per year. Its prospective opening will bring more transit passengers to Qatar, encouraging the travelers passing by to enjoy the country's tourist attractions. Qatar plans to inaugurate 45,000 additional hotel rooms to meet the FIFA's requirement of 60,000 room capacity. Within this context, a newly introduced concept of "floating hotels" was adopted by the Qatari authorities thanks to its "space-saving" and "energy-efficient" nature. Qatar has also announced $65 billion of investments in infrastructure development projects relating to stadium construction, accommodation and upgrading the existing transportation systems.

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