By TBY | Qatar | Mar 26, 2015
The government has used its experience with other successful national strategies to establish a number of strategic goals for the tourism sector to aim for.
While there are a number of qualitative aims to the strategy, it has also set out a number of quantitative aims. Currently, the tourism sectors contributes 2.6% to Qatar’s GDP, which it hopes to almost double to 5.1% by 2030. It also hopes to increase the number of visitors to the country. In 2012, 1.2 million visitors, mainly from Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries, graced Qatar’s soil, which, if everything goes to plan, will increase to 7 million by 2030 who will spend $10.7 billion annually. One of the keys behind the success of these goals will be the involvement of SMEs. The government is looking to encourage a greater role from the private sector and promote entrepreneurship. New SMEs, as well as already established multi-national companies, will contribute an extra 127,000 jobs to the tourism sector by 2030. The government and the QTA have over 60 tourism initiatives in the pipeline for the next 15 years within the tourism. According to Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer of the QTA, predicts that between the government and the private sector there will be investments totaling $45 billion by 2030 in the tourism sector.
In November 2014, the QTA released its 1H2014 figures, and the results looked promising. Covering the period of January 2014 to June 2014, compared to the same period the year before vistor numbers had risen by 8% to 1.42 million, with more than half a million (536,264) coming from GCC nations representing 38% of total incoming tourists. The average occupancy rate also increased from 67% to 74%; however, this was slightly assisted by 1.9% decrease in the available rooms due to renovations or closure. Total revenues for four-and five-star hotels with an increase to $544 million, representing a 4% increase. A growing area of the market is three-star hotels, which managed to make $22.66 million according to the QTA. The revenue per available room (RevPAR) also experienced increases, much to the delight of hotel owners. In five-star hotels, the RevPAR increased 8.5% to $149.40, and combined with four-star hotels the RevPAR increased by 4.5% to $125. These numbers are extremely promising and will be welcome news to the organizers of the Qatar Tourism Strategy.
One of the key factors in reaching the Strategy’s targets will be adequate infrastructure, and a key to its success with be the Hamad International Airport. Construction began in 2005 with the reclamation of 62 million cubic meters of land from the Arabian Gulf. The ambitious project will occupy 29 sqkm once complete, which is equivalent to one-third of the size of Doha. The airport will also include Airport City, a planned free trade zone that will occupy 10 sqkm of land and both surround and support the airport. It took 23,000 workers a total of 160 million working hours to design and build the airport, which opened in for Phase I of construction, with a second terminal opening in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Once fully complete, it will have a capacity to handle 50 million passengers per year and 2 million tons of cargo, which should make it more than capable of serving the needs of Qatar for years to come.
The end result of the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 is to create a flourishing tourism sector that will be able to handle any demand or request for generations to come. Through the collaboration of the private sector and the government, the legacy of the strategy will be far superior infrastructure and a higher quality of leisure and entertainment for all.