Qatar’s economy is booming, fueled by the vitality of its domestic market and oil resources. However, Qatar’s strategy is to diversify its economy through tourism and the hosting of such global sporting events, which provide the best possible opportunity to make Qatar a tourist destination and to boost its international presence.
Massive infrastructure construction projects are under way. Sporting venues, hotels, shopping malls, apartment complexes and houses are either being built or being readied for development.
Qatar has plans to invest about $200 billion in infrastructure development over next 10 years, of that $140 billion will be invested within next five years, according to the Minister of Economy and Finance H E Yousuf Hussein Kamal.
"Infrastructure is vitally important. We plan to invest $140 billion over the next five years in projects such as a new airport, a new seaport and a rail and metro system. Total infrastructure investment, including the 2022 FIFA World Cup, will be about $200 billion over the next 10 years… Qatar's investment benefits the whole region, not just Qatar itself."
Yet, Qatar is set to invest an estimated $20 billion on tourism-related infrastructure projects overseen by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) in the next five years. The volume of hospitality projects is particularly increasing at an accelerated pace as Qatar plans to build more than 60,000 new hotel rooms in time for the country's hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022, Drake & Scull International (DSI) has said.
With at least 19 hotels and around 5,544 hotel rooms currently under construction and in the planning stage, Qatar currently has the third largest pipeline of hotels in the region.
The hospitality industry in Qatar will continue to become more vibrant and lucrative in the future as Qatar positions itself as a major tourist, business and lifestyle destination, and an ideal venue for international expositions, sporting championships and other high-profile events.
New hotel projects underway
Huge investments in the modernization of infrastructure and hospitality projects are underway not only in preparation for the World Cup, but also to leave a lasting impression of the country as a major destination for tourism, business, lifestyle and international exhibitions.
Qatar’s buoyant tourism industry receives approximately one million international visitors a year, 90% of which are business travelers. However, through marketing events and media campaigns leading up to the World Cup, the government is strategizing on putting Qatar on the tourism map and on gaining significant international exposure to spur visitors to come back and explore the country further as tourists.
New tourism projects are being constructed to handle the influx of tourists in the coming years as Qatar Tourism Authority expects a 20% growth in the sector over the next five years. $20 billion worth of investments are in the pipeline for the tourism construction industry including the construction of hotels, resorts and recreational facilities, and over 85,000 hotel rooms in preparation for World Cup 2022.
Internationally renowned luxurious hotels have already opened this year in Qatar including the St Regis Doha located in the capital Doha and 10 kilometers away from the Museum of Islamic Art. Qatar is now home for one of Hilton Hotels & Resorts brands with the opening of Hilton Doha in the city’s Corniche and 15-minute drive from the airport and in close proximity to Doha's upscale commercial, retail and diplomatic district, including the famous Souq Waqif and Museum of Islamic Art. Two new developments are in the pipeline for Hilton Worldwide in Qatar in partnership with Qatar's Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company. The 145-room DoubleTree by Hilton Doha – Al Sadd and the 240-room DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Doha, are expected to open in 2014.
InterContinental also set its latest sites in Qatar with the opening of Intercontinental Doha The City offering a range of luxury accommodations and facilities, including InterContinental Residence Suites and the country’s highest dining experience and an in-house chocolatier. Another five star landmark development under construction in Qatar is the second Four Seasons Hotel. Planned to open in 2014, the 300 room Four Seasons Hotel at the Pearl will open at the multi-billion dollar offshore island and one of the largest real estate developments in Qatar. Rotana’s long term plan is to have opened five to six hotels in Qatar in preparation for the World Cup 2022. Rotana has already one hotel in Qatar and a second one slated to open by end of 2012 in Doha City Center.
Under construction is Doha’s first Premier Inn which will offer a convenient cost effective place for visitors to stay in Qatar. Located at the Doha Education City at the outskirts of Doha, this development is planned to open in 2013 with 200 rooms.
Katara Hospitality, the new identity for Qatar National Hotels Company, added more than 4,000 hotel rooms to Qatar’s hospitality sector with more hotel developments in the pipeline including a new development in the Marina District of the new Lusail city and the Merwebhotel City Centre Doha.