Qatar winning the right to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, started the race to change the face of its nascent tourism and hospitality sectors. The bid proposal promised 84,000 rooms would be available to football fans come kick off, and now Qatar is at the centre of a whirlwind of construction activity, building hotels, housing estates and even floating homes for the 400,000 tourists expected to arrive for the tournament.
Approximately 400,000 tourists are expected to make the journey to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup, and that’s not including the vast hordes of guest workers who will be required to handle construction, services, and infrastructure requirements. As a result, the country’s hospitality and tourism sector will be forced into overdrive in an attempt to prepare Qatar for becoming the most talked-about place on the planet in summer 2022.
Qatar to provide seven World Cup host cities
Qatar’s bid book, submitted to and approved by FIFA, proposes that the World Cup will centre on seven ‘host cities’: Doha, Al-Rayyan, Al-Daayen, Umm Slal, Al-Khor, Al-Wakrah and Al-Shamal. Each will require considerable development of their accommodation facilities, although the fact that almost the entire population and five of the seven cities are within a 25km radius of the capital Doha, means much of the work will be focused in this area. In addition, ten of the 12 stadiums to be built for the event are located within 30km of Doha.
Qatar to expand 3, 4 star hotel offering
More than 84,000 hotel rooms have already been contracted, exceeding FIFA’s minimum requirement of 60,000. And according to local media reports in the wake of the 2022 announcement, Qatar will focus on building three and four-star hotels, to increase the total number of rooms available in the country to 90,000 by the time the World Cup kicks off – double the number of rooms available today. The country already boasts several five-star luxury hotels, and there is expected to be an effort to cater to spectators from different income groups visiting the country for the 2022 event, a promise which formed a key component of Qatar’s bid.
”Five-star inventory in Qatar will, in the most conservative of scenarios, increase by around 77% in the next five years,” says Catalin Cighi, associate director at hospitality consultancy HVS Dubai.
”However as the market matures, there will be more of a balance between midscale and upscale properties – we will still see the bulk of new hotels moving away from the four/five-star bracket, and towards the three/four-star bracket.”
Qatar Tourism Authority: hotel opening delays due to global economic crisis
Not that Qatar has enjoyed an unblemished run of late, when it comes to delivery of such projects. According to Ahmed Al Nuaimi, chairman of the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), there were delays in the delivery of some hotels scheduled for completion in 2010. He said in October last year that the country would fall short of its plan to deliver 42 new hotels in 2010; just 28 were expected to open by the end of year. Al Nuaimi blamed the delays on renegotiations with contractors as the result of price adjustments coming out of the global economic crisis. He maintained that no projects had been cancelled, and said that he expected around 40 new hotels to have opened by end-October 2011.
”Delays are a reality of the hotel market in the Middle East, for a whole host of reasons,” says Cighi. “In Qatar the main concern has been that although we all knew that things were going to happen, there were still questions relating to timelines.
”We know the Qataris have the vision and the money, but before the World Cup bid was won, there was some uncertainty regarding timelines and deadlines – especially related to large-scale developments such as Lusail,” he continues. “Now some of the uncertainty is gone and so some of the reasons for delays have been removed.”
Source : Qatar Chronicle
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