Destinations

Experiential travel big driver for visitors to this nation

Amy Bryant

Experiential travel is the main theme of this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) that is driving tourism growth in Qatar.

The country is working towards its 2030 ambitions to welcome 10 million visitors a year and generate US$17.8 billion in tourism receipts.

According to research released ahead of ATM 2017, which takes place at Dubai World Trade Centre 24-27 April, Qatar will look to generate 5.2% of its GDP through tourism over the coming years, creating 98,000 jobs and managing an inventory of 63,000 hotel rooms.

Qatar is set to invest up to US$45 billion in new developments under the National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030. These include US$2.3 billion earmarked for 2022 World Cup facilities and $6.9 billion for transport infrastructure and associated projects.

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) predicts the tourism sector’s total economic contribution will reach QAR 81.2 billion (7.3% of GDP) by 2026, up from QAR 48.5 billion in 2015.

The Pearl is an island with resident building, shopping center and restaurant.

Qatar  visitor arrivals is growing, averaging 11.5% growth over the past five years, according to data from the QTA. The Authority’s Tourism Performance Summary, for the third quarter of 2016, recorded arrivals of 2.18 million visitors in the first nine months of the year, including more than one million GCC nationals.

In order to deal with the expected demand, Qatar currently has 22,921 hotel rooms with a further 15,956 rooms under contract, representing a 69% increase in total stock in the current pipeline. The country posted a decline in hotel performance across all key metrics over 2016, as overall occupancy dropped 12.2%, ADR fell by 7.5% and RevPAR fell by 18.8%.

ATM 2017 will showcase exhibits from Qatar’s biggest tourism brands, including the Qatar Tourism Authority, Qatar Airways, Katara Hospitality, which operates its own hotel brands in Qatar and owns a number of heritage properties across Europe; Doha Marriott Hotel, Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, The Ritz Carlton Hotel, Qatar, and Hotel Royal Savoy, Lausanne.


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