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JustHere | December 10, 2016

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[PRESS RELEASE] Qatar Tourism Industry Surged Ahead in First Half of 2014

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) released figures today showing that the tourism industry in Qatar continues its strong performance. The data were released in QTA’s first half (January to June) 2014 report, comparing performance to the same period 2013. All key indicators of the tourism sector demonstrated improvement and growth.

“This report demonstrates Qatar’s progress toward becoming a developed and sustainable tourism destination,” said Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA. “Confidence in Qatar’s tourism sector remains buoyant and our efforts continue to bear fruit in terms of promoting and developing the sector. The launch in February of the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 provides a clear framework to all sector stakeholders for how we will contribute to moving our country towards a prosperous future and one that is less dependent on oil and gas resources”.

Figures from the mid-year report back up the story of growth and development in the sector. Total visitor arrivals to Qatar grew by 8% in the first half of 2014 reaching 1.42 million.  More than half a million GCC nationals (536,264) visited Qatar, representing 38% of tourists.

“This healthy growth demonstrates Qatar’s transformation into one of GCC top business, family, and leisure destinations” added, Al Ibrahim, “We have to look beyond mere numbers and make a strategic shift towards quality tourism. This will emphasize hospitality, high standards of service, innovative developments and attractions grounded in Qatari culture and tradition.”

In the past, QTA has counted Business Visas and Tourist Visas exclusively, along with the entries of all GCC Nationals, for the reporting of visitor statistics. Based upon a thorough review, in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) and Oxford Economics, a leading developer of global tourism statistical systems, QTA has adopted a revised and more accurate reporting methodology. The figures now incorporate all visit visa types issued by the Ministry of Interior (a total of 14), which more accurately reflects the scale of Qatar’s visitor numbers. Moving forward, all reporting will take into account the expanded range of visas, in line with international standards.

Qatar recognizes the economic importance of tourism, and one of QTA’s goals is to provide the industry, investors and hotel developments with accurate information and market data, including well-defined visitor, economic and market statistics. The updated reporting systems reflect the ongoing development of Qatar’s Tourism Satellite Account, (TSA), a standard statistical framework and the main tool for the economic measurement of tourism globally.  The development of Qatar’s TSA is being overseen by an intergovernmental committee, led by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics with representation from the Ministry of Business and Trade, the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Interior, and the Qatar Tourism Authority.

“This expanded analysis of Qatar’s visitor markets presents an impressive picture of the size, diversity, and rapid growth of tourism, even in these early days of developing the sector” states Adam Sacks, President of the Tourism Economics group within Oxford Economics.

In the first half of 2014, the average hotel occupancy rate rose to 74% from 67% last year, assisted by a 1.9% decrease in available rooms due to renovation-related closures. Total revenue at 4- & 5-Star hotels increased by 4%, reaching QR 1.98 billion, while total revenue at 3-star hotels reached QR 82.51 million in a growing area of the hotel market.

Average Room Rate (ARR) was estimated at QR 721 for 5-star hotels, QR 389 for 4-star hotels, QR 277 for 3-star hotels, QR 273 for 2-star hotels, and QR 212 for 1-star hotels.  ARR softened in 5-star hotels, in particular, relative to prior-year levels (QR 814), which were high in comparison to regional benchmarks.  However, Revenue per Available Room (RevPAR) increased by 8.5% to QR 544 across 5-star hotels and by 4.5% to QR 455 across both 4- and 5-star hotels.

A diverse range of events and activities in Qatar, along with increased regional and international presence during the first half of 2014, contributed to growth in the leisure tourism sector.

H1 2014 was marked by the following achievements:

  • Proper governance and comprehensive plans, policies, and regulations
    • QTA launched the second phase of its cooperation agreement with the UNWTO, aimed at assessing the current statistical systems, building capacities on both a local and regional level, providing internships for QTA staff, technical support for QTA departments, a tourism sector human capital development strategy, and a visa facilitation study
    • In February, 24 hotel establishments from the tourism industry in Qatar signed a commitment to the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism. The private sector in Qatar is one of the first in the region to sign the code, with support from the government and private sector
    • QTA announced the new Tourist Dhow Licensing procedures and standards in cooperation with the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Interior, and Department of Public Transport Affairs
  • Sectorial capacity building
    • QTA and UNWTO THEMIS Foundation conducted a regional workshop in Qatar titled ‘Strategy in Tourism Destination’
    • Twenty-four trainees were selected to join the “Tour Guide License Program”, a tour guide training course in collaboration with Stenden University
    • QTA sponsored regional courses on hosting major events provided by the Josoor Institute
  • Diversification and development of Qatar’s tourism product and service portfolio
    • Hosting large-scale events, conferences and exhibitions, such as the Doha Jewelry and Watches Exhibition 2014, the fourth Qatar International Motor Show and the “Tourism in Tomorrow’s World” conference
    • Attracting more domestic and regional tourists through seasonal festivals such as Souq Waqif Spring Festival, and the fifth International Festival for Falcon and Hunting, Leshtah Festival 2014, the Fifth International Food Festival and increasing live family entertainment such as Cirque Éloize and Disney Live
    • Hosting a range of high-quality sporting events, such as the Qatar Total Open and Qatar ExxonMobil Open in tennis
    • Traditional competitions and events drove regional and domestic tourism and excursions such as Desert Caravan Challenge in February, which attracted 55 participants who undertook the challenge in the two-day event at the Zubarah Fort. Also the annual Sinyar and Al Galayel competitions witnessed an unprecedented participation both on a local and a regional level. It is within QTA’s objectives to offer authentic Qatari experiences to attract international tourists
  • Expanding market exposure
    • Promoting and marketing the destination in tourism and travel major trade shows, such as Arabian Travel Market, ITB Berlin, IMEX Frankfurt, Gulf Incentive Business Travel and Meeting Exhibition in Abu Dhabi, to establish long term relationships with industry stakeholders in target markets and increase their awareness of the tourism products and available services in Qatar
    • Expanding the market by opening a new QTA representative office in Berlin, to promote Qatar as a destination in the German speaking countries in Europe
    • In the beginning of the year, QTA welcomed the players and staff of Paris Saint-Germain men’s football team for their annual Winter Tour, training camp and friendly match with Real Madrid in Qatar. Over the past few months, Parisians have been exposed to advertising about Qatar across their city – from large scale billboards located in high-traffic spots to advertising at the Charles De Gaulle Airport. Featuring Paris Saint-Germain players along with iconic Qatari landmarks, this campaign positioned Qatar as the official destination of Paris Saint-Germain

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