Qatar records a nearly 50 percent increase in Gulf tourism and 12 percent growth in international visitors
DOHA 20 February 2012: Qatar has recorded one of its strongest years yet in terms of visitor numbers, with travellers from the Gulf region pushing strong hotel occupancy rates, according to new statistics released by the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) today. The year 2011 saw a massive jump in the number of visitors from the gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, with 50 percent more than the previous year. International tourism figures also soared with 12 percent more visiting Qatar’s shores in 2011. QTA Chairman Mr. Ahmed Al Nuaimi said the statistics highlighted that Doha is on track to become one of the main tourist for the citizens and residents of the GCC. Approximately 845,633 tourists from the GCC visited Qatar in 2011, compared to 582,134 in 2010 coming from Saudi Arabia. International visitor arrivals also increased in 2011 with Asian tourists, which accounted 58 percent of the total visitor numbers. Tourism from Arab countries increased by 19.13 percent and from European countries by 15 percent.
This surge in visitor numbers saw one of the strongest years, record for Qatar’s thriving hotel sector with the revenue from four and five star hotels topping QR5 billion and occupancy increasing by 19.25 percent in 2011. Eight new hotels opened in Qatar in 2011, bringing the total number of hotels to 74. This brings the total number of hotel rooms in Qatar to 11,341 in 2011 (compared to 5974 in 2010) – an 18.45 percent increase.
Despite the increase in hotel room stock, occupancy rates in hotels remained steady at 59 percent for the year with January and February recording the highest percentage, spurred by the Asian Football Cup and other large-scale events.
This period also saw an increase in revenue of 19.25% for the five and four stars hotels. The total income for four and five star hotels to QR2,777,947,223 in 2011, compared to QR2,329,514,968 in 2010 with revenue from rooms and food and beverage operations accounting for the largest proportion.
Mr. Al Nuaimi pointed out that the business tourism accounted for 72 percent of the total number of tourists received by Qatar last year but he said that the QTA’s strategy of targeting high-end tourism was showing results.“Tourism is central to Qatar’s vision of creating a diversified and sustainable economy,” Mr. Al Nuaimi said. “These strong results can be attributed to the growth of the hospitality industry, especially in the area of hotels and resorts as well as our strategy to target travelers transiting to stop in Doha.”
“2012 will be another landmark year for Qatar’s tourism sector. “We will see 3,500 new hotel rooms come online with the addition of new hotels. We will also continue our successful efforts at marketing Qatar as a destination as well as bringing large scale events and conferences to Doha. “We will also build on these results with a promotional campaign later in 2012 targeting the GCC countries.”
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