Qatar’s hotel sector to flourish in the wake of climbing leisure tourism demand

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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The hotel sector in Qatar is projected to strengthen as the demand for leisure tourism is increasing and the post-pandemic recovery is likely to be focused on the delivery of new resorts, attractions and leisure facilities, according to Cushman & Wakefield Qatar (CWQ).

The global commercial real estate services firm in its latest report stressed that average daily rates (ADRs) in the country’s hospitality sector for the first two months of this year stood at $99.9, matching the pre-pandemic levels.

The importance of leisure tourism to Qatar has increased over the past year as the increasing reliance on online meeting facilities is likely to have a prolonged impact on global and regional business travel, the report said.

“While we expect to see a significant boost in visitor numbers, particularly from Saudi Arabia, any potential return to pre-blockade performance is unlikely until COVID-19 vaccinations are at a more advanced stage and quarantine restrictions are eased throughout the region,” CWQ said.

As per the National Tourism Council (NTC)’s annual report, the ADRs for hotels in Qatar were $98.8 and $101.9 for the first two months of last year, which mirrored 2019 performance. 

With the introduction of lockdown measures in March, these rates significantly dropped. However, revenues recovered during the year due to a surge in domestic reservations after the restrictions were eased.

In 2020, Qatar’s tourism sector enjoyed a solid start with a 33 percent increase in year-on-year performance in January and February, but the industry was significantly damaged by the onset of the COVID-19 in March.

“A 73 percent decline in visitor numbers resulted in an 18 percent fall in occupancy rates and a 22 percent fall in revenue per room over the entire year,” the report said.

As the pandemic continued into its second year, the Planning and Statistics Authority’s data showed a year-on-year fall in occupancy in January 2021 by 13 percent to 53 percent but it recovered to 66 percent in February, comparable with the pre-pandemic levels of the same month in 2020.

Related: Mass vaccination efforts & eased travel restrictions give hope to tourism sector; IIF