Hotels in Qatar should slash their rates if they want to fill their rooms as the current tariff is “not realistic”, the country’s tourism chief has said.
The high hotel prices in Doha have driven away many of the prospective customers who found cheaper alternatives in other countries like Oman in the region, Ahmed Abdullah M al-Nuaimi, chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) told Gulf Times.
“When I invited companies and individuals with whom I have personal contacts to come to Qatar (to hold events or open offices), they were quick to point out that the high price here was a deterrent, the QTA chairman said.
“Some 2,000 more rooms have come on board with the opening of about half a dozen hotels in Qatar this year and more are expected to join the bandwagon as more new hotels are scheduled to be opened starting from the first quarter of next year,” al-Nuaimi said explaining the “plentiful supply situation” in the country.
“Among the new luxury hotels expected to be opened in the first quarter of 2010 are properties managed by the Hilton and the Marriott.”
Al-Nuaimi said the “golden era” when hotels in Qatar charged high rates, was gone and now was the time to adopt a realistic approach, which would match the ground realities.
The QTA chief said the global economic recession has not affected tourism-related activities in Qatar and hotels in Qatar still did good business.
“But now the occupancy has been spread” with the arrival of the new players. He said hotels have reported increased revenue this year.
Al-Nuaimi said he was hopeful of the situation improving further in the next year.
Qatar has been gaining popularity as a destination for conferences and the QTA will push with more promotional activities abroad, the QTA chairman said.
“One of the major items on the agenda is the roadshows scheduled to be held in five European countries. QTA will woo tourists by visiting the cities of Madrid, London, Milan, Paris and Munich, besides presenting Qatar as an ideal destination for business tourism at the ITB Berlin Fair in March.”
Al-Nuaimi said QTA would visit Asian cities next fall and other places would follow.
Asked about the incentives provided to the private sector to promote tourism in Qatar, al-Nuaimi said QTA supported tour operators and other players to showcase their products at foreign venues by giving them free stands at the Qatar pavilions.
Highlighting the growing prominence of Qatar as MICE destination, al-Nuaimi said Doha would play host to a number of major international conferences in the coming years, adding that important among them were the World Petroleum Congress in 2011, the two-week long International Postal conference and the World Medical conference in 2012.
“These are very major and important events each of which will be attended by more than 4,000 delegates,” QTA chief said.
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