Qatar saw 2.8 million visitors enter the country in 2014, an 8.2% increase in numbers over the previous year, generating 61,000 jobs in the tourism sector and an economic injection of $7.6 billion.
Forty percent of tourists came from other GCC countries, 15% from European countries and 28% from Asia and Oceania, according to figures released by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).
Hotel occupancy rates increased to an average of 73% in 2014, with five-star properties enjoying the lion’s share of visitors; hoteliers are expecting those numbers to rise further in 2015.
Projects totalling $8.48 billion currently underway will set Qatar up as a major tourist destination: they include the Doha Festival City, the Doha Convention Centre, Rayyan Mall (Mall of Qatar), Doha Zoo, Lusail Museum, Katara Towers (Lusail Marina), not forgetting the FIFA World Cup football stadiums, home to the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
The total number of projects planned or underway include five museums and libraries; 57 hotels and resorts; 22 shopping venues; 21 sports facilities; 11 theme parks, six convention centres and a state-of-the-art theatre.
“Qatar has witnessed astounding economic growth over the past decade, and this has translated into a healthy tourism sector focused on culture, shopping, sporting events, meetings and exhibitions,” according to Nadege Noblet, Exhibition Manager, Arabian Travel Market (ATM).
“The recent completion of important infrastructure projects, such as the Hamad International Airport in 2014 are just the start. Qatar Airways also plans to significantly expand its capacity across Europe in 2015.”