Dubai is usually upheld as the biggest hot spot for the hotel industry in the world, but per capita hotel development in Doha is not far behind. By the time the Asian Games are held in December 2006 there will be 1,700 rooms added to the existing 3,700, making a total of 5,400.
Room rates have gone through the roof in the past few years, and obtaining a room can be a major headache for visiting executives. In the year-to-date officials report 82% occupancy levels and the city is actually full during big conferences of which there are an increasing number.
Business is attracted by the huge investment plans of the Qatar Government, with $75 billion slated for LNG alone and $25 billion for other infrastructure spending over the next few years.
‘The spending on LNG is only really just getting underway, and everybody wants to be in Doha,’ says one local analyst who asked not to be named. ‘It’s purely oil and gas at the moment, there are no major tourism attractions in Qatar, and not likely to be any.’
The latest addition to the hotel sector is the 231-room Four Seasons in the West Bay. For 2006 La Cigale, Grand Hyatt and the Ramada are the big brands due to open; plus Qatar National Hotel’s own super-exclusive Al Sharq Village Resort.
Then in 2007-8 come the 259-room Renaissance, Marriott Courtyard, Marriott Executive Apartments, Shangri-La, and Accor. Still in the planning stages are new hotels to be managed by Hilton, Inter-Continental, Dusit Thani and Kempinski.
There will also be three new hotels on The Pearl-Qatar, three at the new airport and three in the Education City; and 10 hotels on the North Beach after the existing Ritz-Carlton Doha.
This is a formidable pace of expansion for such a relatively small market, and bottlenecks in the supply of cement are already being reported. However, with Qatar shortly to become the richest nation on earth in terms of GDP per capita, everything is possible, and the hotels will surely get built.
Monday, May 9- 2005 @ 16:27 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.