Posted on May 10, 2011

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) said that hotel occupancy rates were up nearly 10 percent in the first quarter of 2011 at 68 percent compared to 59 percent in 2010. Qatar has also seen a significant increase of the visitors from GCC counties during the first three months of 2011 comparing with 2010 which is contributing as well tithe growth of the hotels occupancies .

The QTA in a press release said that the number of GCC visitors to Qatar increased by 48 per cent to 213,058 tourists over the first three months of 2011. In terms of GCC travelers to Qatar, Saudi Arabia recorded the biggest increase in visitors from 71,943 in 2010 to 117,894 visitors in the first three months of 2011 – a staggering 64 per cent increase. There were 30,787 visitors from the UAE and 18,249 from Kuwait in the first quarter of2011.

Spurred by the Asian Football Cup held in Doha in January 2011, hotel occupancy rates for that month were 24 percent higher than for January 2010. The month of February also saw a significant increase - six percent higher than 2010. In other figures released by the QTA, the increase in hotel occupancy rates coincided with a surge in hotel revenues.

Revenues for five star establishments for the first three months of 2011 stood at QR578,955,468.60, nearly 20 per cent higher than for the same period in 2010 when the total revenues were 477,853,376.10. January 2011''s revenues for five star hotels in Qatar were more than QR204 million riyals an almost 60 percent increase on revenues for 2010 - again a result of the Asian Football Cup and other events taking place in Doha. February also saw an increase in revenues for five star hotels recording QR 181,994,679.65 compared to QR157, 110,468.09 in February 2010. Four star establishments saw similar gains in revenue for the first three months with QR155,394,909 in 2011 compared to QR144, 610,001 for the same period in 2010.

Meanwhile, QTA has revealed there are currently 77 new hotels and 42 hotel apartments under construction in Qatar. This will bring a total of 21,107 new rooms into the Qatari hospitality market when they come operational. Just in 2011 are expected to come on the market a stock of 6369 hotel room - comprised of 25hotels and 10 hotel apartments.

QTA chairman Ahmed Al Nuami said these stunning figures show Qatar has the capacity to host major events and also supported the hospitality's growth strategies. "These statistics are a great boost and prove that Qatar is a destination to hold large scale events. We are expecting a bumper year in 2011 with the World Petroleum Congress and the Arab Games both being held in late 2011," Al Nuami said.

"Both these events and our growing reputation in the MICE sector for hosting meetings and events have cemented Qatar as a destination with a lot to offer. With new hotel openings planned in coming months, this shows the confidence that the business and hospitality sector has in Qatar''s current and potential growth. "This is in addition to QTA's efforts in attracting tourists who come on business, encouraging them to prolong their stay as part of the tourism promotional agenda set by QTA." Al Nuami said the huge influx of visitors from the GCC this year is a direct result of the unrest in the region. "Travellers are looking for a safe and stable destination in the region and Qatar can offer this," he said.