The ongoing blockade imposed on Qatar has provided hotels and resorts in the country fresh opportunities to explore new markets, helping them to weather the negative impact of the siege.
Shifting their focus towards Kuwait, Oman and the local market as well as other foreign markets, the industry has compensated for the decline in business during summer season, according to some hotels The Peninsula spoke to.
“Hotels in Qatar changed their strategy and focused their efforts on the countries that have visa access in addition to increasing their media presence and direct sales efforts in Qatar, Kuwait and Oman. The drop in the business due to the blockade was replaced over the Eid period by the local market, as well as visitors from Kuwait and Oman,” said Thomas Fehlbier, General Manager at Banana Island Resort Doha by Anantara.
Despite the blockade, Banana Island Resort kicked off summer on a high note with a good performance.
“ It has been an impressive start of the summer at Banana Island Resort, with the resort performing 27 percent over its budget and boasting 96 percent occupancy during the Eid period, making it the most successful Eid Holiday period since the resort’s opening,” said Fehlbier.
The same holds true for Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, one of the pioneering five-star hotels in the country. “The recent political situation has prevented guests from select GCC countries to come to Qatar, however our hotel has recorded an increase in revenues and occupancy this summer. We have found new opportunities by relying on local guests and from other foreign markets. We are very pleased with the occupancy and revenue results of the summer as we have accomplished a tremendous success, despite the adversity,” said Saeid Heidari, General Manager at Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel, adding the hotel enjoyed full occupancy during Eid Al Fitr.
“Fifty-percent of our guests were Qatari citizens and residents while 22% were from Kuwait and Oman, which indicates a huge demand from these two markets. Thanks to strong dining offerings and excellent facilities we were able to attract a huge number of guests,” said Heidari.
Sharad Rattan, Executive Assistant Manager at Sharq Village & Spa a Ritz Carlton Hotel, was of the same view that the opening of new business corridors for the industry has also created positive impact on tourism sector in general.
“The blockade has certainly opened our hotel to new markets, different partnerships and fresh opportunities. The hotel industry has adjusted its initiatives to supply the new demand, which has positively influenced the overall tourism sector by inviting it to develop flexibility when adapting to change and innovation and when addressing new requirements,” said Rattan.
Nawaf Ali Al Obaidly, General Manager at Sealine Beach Resort, said resorts and hotels have been doing well in terms of occupancy and revenue due to a number of factors.
“Following the blockade many citizens and residents decided to do everything they can to support the country amid current challenges, one of which was to cancel any vacations planned and instead opt for a ‘staycation’ in Qatar. Many hotels responded to this with a range of exclusive offers and packages for ‘local tourists’. The result was unexpectedly healthy occupancy rates,” said Al Obaidly.
“The recent completion of our new 18-luxury-villas extension, which adds to the combined rooms’ eclectic portfolio at Sealine Beach Resort and perfectly caters to the preferences of Qatari families and travellers who value the element of privacy, have also played a key role in attracting visitors and guests during this period,” he said.
He added that although the resort has many visitors from Oman and Kuwait, majority of its guests are Qatari citizens and residents.
The Peninsula Qatar