Top hotel brands looking to Qatar
February 01 2014 12:40 AM
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Al-Refai: sees a bright future for Qatar’s hotel industry even beyond the FIFA 2022 World Cup.

Business tourism accounts for about 70% of room occupancy in Doha hotels while most of the rest is made up of visitors from other GCC states, a senior Doha hotelier has said

Mashhoor al-Refai, the general manger of Concorde hotel Doha, said that Qatar had managed to attract a number of the top brands in the hotel industry, making the local market  “more competitive and demanding”.

“This is a healthy phenomenon and the current and future outlook in the market encourages expansion and demands the introduction of more sophisticated facilities,” he said, stressing the various  projects underway in the country would further  boost the demand for hotel rooms.

“Conference and event halls are also in high demand now,” he said. “For instance at Concorde, almost all our event halls are constantly pre-booked, and the situation is the same with almost all the brand hotels in Doha.”

Prospects of the hotel industry looks “extremely bright” in Qatar with the number of hotel rooms in the country  expected to rise from the current 13,000 to 45,000 in 2017.

“Several hotels under different star categories are being built in Qatar  to meet the huge demand generated by the FIFA World Cup 2022 that Qatar is hosting.”

Al-Refai said  that Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) had played a key role in enhancing the state’s tourism potential through various tools. These include:  QTA working closely with the municipality to offer more services and facilities for tourists, organisation of various festivities, improving the country’s  tourist infrastructure  and encouraging all hotels in the country to take part in international and local tourism fairs and exhibitions to promote their products.

“QTA makes such process easy and hassle-free, it also gives immense support. Further, QTA has recently opened offices in Paris and London with highly-qualified staff and this would reflect positively in promoting the country as a promising tourist destination,” he stressed.

The introduction of more taxis, expansion of public transportation, new shopping centres and better roads and related infrastructure have greatly contributed to attracting more tourists.

Besides business and family tourism, al-Refai felt  there was a growing trend in the industry for offering more sport and leisure tourism products.

Asked whether the demand for hotel rooms would be sustained after the  FIFA 2022 World Cup,  he affirmed that the demand would continue because the strategy adopted for the country’s future supported more growth and expansion outside Doha.

“A documentary was broadcast recently by  BBC focusing on the country’s vision on this. There is massive investment to support a sustainable development. In addition, when the main infrastructure, road works and public transportation projects are fully accomplished,  new demand will be created for varied types of tourism and other businesses,” explained al-Refai, reaffirming his belief that more focus would be given to leisure and entertainment tourism.

Describing his experience since the launch of Concorde hotel in Doha two years ago, he said that he anticipated an annual growth of 10% this year.

Due to the highly-challenging market demands, Concorde has introduced various tailor-made services that provide guests a congenial home-like atmosphere with further stress on the safety and security procedures for families with children.

Concorde has won the World Excellence Award for 2013 from TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel website, specialised in listing the classification of hotels around the world through the voting of guests. It has 210 rooms and suites and a swimming pool. It is a five-star hotel with a boutique and two restaurants  and 600sqm of varied halls suitable for holding all types of events and celebrations.

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