With fewer hotel rooms on the market and a number of regional and international events taking place, Qatar’s hospitality industry had no difficulty in making profits.
But with more players entering and more room available in the country in nearly all categories, the industry is faced with and formidable challenges to keep its profits soaring in the wake of fierce competition.
Statistics released by the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) for 2008 and 2009 suggest that the number of hotels has increased and their profitability challenged.
The chairman of the QTA, Ahmed Abdullah Al Nuaimi, said last week that the country’s hospitality industry will have to look for new and innovative ways to keep its earnings up.
The industry made profits of QR2.07bn last year as compared to QR2.12bn in 2008. The drop is marginal but considering that there were a total of 51 hotels in the country in 2008 and the number went up to 58 last year, the reduction in the earnings is more substantial in real terms.
The profits of four-star hotels totalled QR488.41m in 2009 as against QR521.8m in 2008, while the profits of five-star hotels went down slightly from QR1.6bn in 2008 to QR1.59bn last year.
There were two one-star hotels and 11 two-star hotels in the country in 2008. While their number remained the same last year, the number of three-star and four-star hotels rose from 15 and 11, respectively, in 2008 to 17 and 13 last year.
As for five-star hotels, the number went up from a dozen in 2008 to 15 in 2009. But as mentioned, the profits of the industry dropped last year despite the growth in numbers.
“The country’s hospitality sector is facing new and formidable challenges,” Al Nuaimi said.
He convened a meeting of the managers of four and five-star hotels and discussed ways to keep their earnings up. It was suggested at the meeting that hotels should think of new and innovative ways to attract customers. Also, tourism should be promoted to ensure more visitors to the country, said the QTA chief.
“The hotels should hold special events and organise promotions to attract more customers,” said Al Nuaimi. He added that regional and international events held here are crucial for the profitability of the hotel industry.
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