By Peter Alagos/Business Reporter
The hospitality sector in Qatar will remain vibrant even after the country has hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup, said an industry official, who dispelled fears of a hotel glut.
"Qatar is prepared to develop its tourism sector even after the World Cup," stated Sheikh Mohamed bin Faisal al-Thani, vice chairman of Al Rayyan Tourism Investment Company (Artic).
Citing statistics, Sheikh Mohamed said Qatar needs around 90,000 hotel rooms to accommodate the influx of thousands of tourists attending the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“But until now we even haven’t reached 50% of the figures,” he said yesterday during the official opening of City Center Rotana Doha in West Bay.
“We have never felt that concern,” he stressed, referring to the fears of a hotel glut. “Beyond 2022, there are plans to develop Qatar’s touristic sector, and I think this does not pose as a problem for us. We believe that companies would even invest more in the tourism sector during that time.”
Sheikh Mohamed said while there are plans to build more five-star hotels along the West Bay area, there is robust spending for three and four-star hotels as well, providing more investment opportunities for companies in the hospitality sector.
“Other segments such as business tourism provide opportunities for major players in the hospitality sector and this will help hotels meet their targets considering that Qatar is playing a significant role in the regional tourism industry.
“Qatar envisions itself to become a regional tourism hub for Asian and European countries, and many tourists transit in Qatar and stay for at least three days or more,” Sheikh Mohamed said.
Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the event, Rotana Hotel Management Corporation (Rotana) president and CEO Omer Kaddouri said Qatar is developing itself into a hub for all types of business models.
“I agree that there is a need not only for five-star hotels but also three and four-star hotels and more hotel apartments in order to give customers coming to Doha the opportunity to stay at different price points,” Kaddouri explained.
He added: “Qatar is developing reasons why people should be coming to the country post 2022…we need to be thinking forward and I believe that Qatar is doing the right thing because they have the right vision; the government is on track in building the hospitality infrastructure and platform in order to deal with 2022, primarily, and beyond.”
City Center Rotana Doha general manager Joseph Coubat also said Doha “is taking centre stage” in terms of hosting conferences in the region, making it a conference hub for cultural activities, sports, business, and other types of conferences.
“These activities are paving the road for Qatar to play a key role in the meetings, incentives, conferences, and events scene,” he added.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Faisal al-Thani.
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