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Staycations drive up occupancy at Qatar hotels: Report

Staycations drive up occupancy at Qatar hotels: Report

Rahul Preeth
Doha
Staycations, rather than holidaying abroad, are catching on in Qatar, suggests a new report that links the country’s increased occupancy rates at hotels to a revival in domestic tourism.
Research firm DTZ, in its first quarter evaluation of Qatar’s real estate, said the occupancy rates at hotels in Qatar jumped 3 percent from 2017 to 61 percent in 2018, despite a 19 percent fall in the arrival of foreign tourists that year.
A 61 percent occupancy rate is considered healthy and, according to Statista.com, is close to the Middle East’s average rate of 63 percent for 2018.
DTZ says there has been a significant increase in domestic tourism, especially in five-star establishments, while overnight stays for regional business travellers have increased since the Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.
“Overall occupancy rates have also been boosted by the popularity of hotel apartments with long-stay guests and full-time residents,” the report said.
Several hotels in Qatar has been popularising staycations or the practice of spending vacations in the home country with several exciting offers over the last few quarters, especially after the blockade.
According to the National Tourism Council’s (NTC) annual report for 2018, the total number of available rooms in December 2018 was 25,917, contained in 124 hotel and hotel apartment establishments.
DTZ research shows that this number has increased by almost 700 rooms in the first quarter of this year, with the opening of The Mandarin Oriental and M Gallery in Msheireb, as well as VIP Hotel on C-Ring Road.
“Luxury accommodation still dominates the market with more than 85 percent of overall supply currently categorised as either four-star or five-star.”
According to NTC’s estimates, approximately 23,000 hotel keys are at various stages of planning and construction and they will be completed prior to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Hotel revenues have been affected by the overall increase in supply, reflecting increasing competition between hotels to secure overnight guests, the report said.
“The overall average daily rates (ADRs) dropped to QR380 for 2018. According to the Planning and Statistics Authority, the overall average ADR in February was QR368, which reflected a 6-percent fall in 12 months and a 20-percent fall over two years,” it added.
DTZ said NTC has introduced several measures to counteract the fall in tourist arrivals since 2016 and to boost the hotel sector, including the introduction of e-visas, free 96-hour transit visas and visa-free arrivals for more than 80 countries.
“As a result, there has been an increase in arrivals from Russia and China,” the report said, adding that tourists from those two countries made the biggest contribution to the growth in Qatar’s tourism industry since 2013.

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