Collective efforts in boosting Qatar’s hospitality and tourism industry have witnessed positive results. Despite the ongoing unjust blockade for more than 21 months, the occupancy of hotels across all categories witnessed solid growth (year-on-year) in February 2019.
The average occupancy of hotels (all categories put together) jumped to 67 percent in February 2019 registering a 7 percent growth (y-o-y) against 60 percent recorded in the corresponding month last year, official data show.
The occupancy rate of budget hotels (classified as 1&2-Star) rose to 72 percent, recording the highest 17 percent jump in February compared to 55 percent a year ago. This was closely followed by the 3-Star category hotels with 13 percent growth in occupancy (from 66 to 79 percent). The 4-Star and 5-Star category hotels in February 2019 saw their occupancy rates increasing to 68 percent and 64 percent, respectively, registering 7 percent and 6 percent growth (y-o-y), latest available data released by the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics show.
With the increase in occupancy rates of hotels, the ‘Hotel Revenue Per Available Room’ also improved in February 2019 compared to a year ago. The average revenue per available room increased by QR10 to QR246 in February 2019 from QR236 in February 2018. When analyzed by individual categories, data show that all categories of hotels registered growth in Hotel Revenue Per Available Room’ by varying degrees (between QR4 to QR21) with 1&2-Star hotel rooms seeing the highest QR21 (from QR84 to QR105) increase in revenue per available room.
This remarkable improvement in the performance of the hotel industry can be attributed to the increase in the number of tourists. In February 2019 some 376,106 people visited Qatar, which is about 8.2 percent more than the same month last year. When compared on a monthly basis, the number of visitors saw a sharp jump of over 90 percent compared to 196,594 visitors in January 2019.
Europe and Asia accounted for a significant majority (71 percent) of the total number of visitors in February, with Europe (36 percent) followed by Asia (including Oceania) accounting for 35 percent. GCC countries accounted for 12 percent of the total number of visitors in February 2019.
More than four-fifth (84.25 percent) of the total number of visitors came to Qatar by air and the remaining (15.75) by sea route. No visitors were able to enter Qatar by land route due to the obvious reason of illegal blockade by Saudi-led Arab quartet.