The Qatar Tourism Authority reported in its Q3 analysis that approximately 2.2 million visitors arrived in Qatar during the first three quarters of 2016, representing a 3% YoY decline.

QTA also reported a drop in occupancy and ARR, due to a combination of new supply and weaker demand, which it said was in line with global trends and low oil prices.

Sporting events continue to remain an inbound tourism hook, with the country having The Road World Championships from October 9-16, 2016 welcoming around 1,000 racers from 75 countries. European football giants Barcelona also visited in December to play a friendly in Doha.

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Colliers International forecast predicted around 1,500 hotels came on the market in the last 12 months, and hotel operators continue to introduce new supply as existing projects near completion. In this issue, we focus on a couple of hotels that will add in excess of 500 keys between just the two of them.

Centara is set to make its debut, not just in Qatar but across the entire Middle East, and Hotelier Qatar has an exclusive sneak peek. The Centara Grand West Bay Doha will welcome guests in April 2017, and the flagship Doha property will be one of two, with the second hotel intended towards long-stay expats and tourists. The Holiday Inn will also open in 2017, in Doha’s Business Park. The hotel will join its five-star sibling — Crowne Plaza The Business Park Doha — and is intended to open by August 2017. We have an exclusive interview with the cluster general manager Marcus Sutton, as we profile his growth within the company.

Looking ahead, the removal of visa restrictions for travellers from India, China and Russia in early 2017, could well be the secret to a successful 2017. coupled with the first-of-its-kind Qatar Shopping Festival (January 7 to February 7) which will complement the opening of the Mall of Qatar.

Q1 has traditionally been Qatar’s most successful with regards to occupancy, ARR and RevPAR. Here’s hoping the efforts of the QTA to open offices in Istanbul and New York in Q3 2016, begins to pay rich dividends.