Forty hotels to open in Qatar this year

Hoteliers believe that there is 'enough room' in the market

Qatar's head of licensing and classification tourism activities Mohammed Al Ansari:40 hotels will open.
Qatar's head of licensing and classification tourism activities Mohammed Al Ansari:40 hotels will open.
W Hotel Doha general manager Safak Guvenc: The summer in Doha will 'be dead', just forget about it.
W Hotel Doha general manager Safak Guvenc: The summer in Doha will 'be dead', just forget about it.

Forty hotels and hotel apartments are expected to open in Qatar this year, Qatar Tourism and Exhibitions Authority head of licensing and classification tourism activities Mohammed Al Ansari said at Arabian Travel Market.

Al Ansari said that the hotels would mainly be in the four- and five-star categories and that the figure included some deluxe hotel apartments as well. In total, he estimated this would amount to 10,000 new rooms.

“The door is open [to economy hotels] but mostly because Qatar is targeting business travellers and MICE travellers, most hotels needed are four- or five-star, so we are concentrating to upgrade the level of quality and the level of services in the country,” said Al Ansari.

Around 90% of Qatar’s one million annual visitors are business travellers, with the aim to increase non-business tourism from 10% to 30%, said Al Ansari.

The first phase of the Cultural Village is scheduled to open in 2010, which Al Ansari said would help attract leisure visitors. It will consist of an amphitheatre, corniche and boardwalk, international restaurants, opera house, theatre, museum and galleries.

Marriott is opening three of the 40 hotels in Qatar – the Renaissance, Marriott Executive Apartments and The Courtyard in Doha.

Commenting on whether there is enough demand for so many new properties in the country, Marriott Lodging International president and managing director Ed Fuller said: “Quite frankly I think when it comes to the Courtyard there’s not a lot of moderate tier four star properties in that market of that calibre and quality.

“The Renaissance is a lifestyle brand and though I’m aware of the W Hotel being there, I think we will execute it extremely well so we will try to capture a little of those folks in the lifestyle market,” he added.

W Hotel Doha opened in 2009 and, according to general manager Safak Guvenc, it has a “unique edge in the market”.

“Marriott will be in our competitive set,” said Guvenc. “It’s really good I think that competition is coming in. I think the Renaissance will be a beautiful brand, Four Seasons does very well, Sheraton does well, if we all do well it will attract more businessmen and more tourists to Doha because we are all offering something unique. There is enough market for everybody.”

However, Guvenc said that he was still working on “getting our leisure share”, with occupancy at the weekends around 40-50%.

He was confident that initiatives such as Cultural Village, as well as sporting events and the Tribeca Film Festival, would help bring in more leisure visitors, but he said business would fall dramatically during summer.

“Summer is going to be dead, forget about it. I don’t think that summers will ever be good in Doha,” said Guvenc.

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