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Qatar Economic Forum prepares for doubling of GDP

Qatar: Thursday, April 20 - 2006 @ 10:44

Energy and Industry Minister Abdullah Al Attiyah said: ‘Our development programmes have plans to double again our GDP during the next five years. GDP has doubled between 1995 and 2000, and has doubled again between 2000 and 2005.’

According to official statistics Qatar’s GDP jumped by 20.8 per cent last year to reach $34.4 billion. Behind this remarkable performance is Qatar’s highly successful exploitation of its gas reserves with the proactive encouragement of foreign direct investment, and the recent surge of crude oil prices which is highly beneficial to a nation with an output of 788,000 barrels per day.

$15bn for petrochems

The Qatar Economic Forum was also told that Qatar is to spend $15 billion on petrochemical projects over the next five years. General Manager of Qatar Petrochemical Company, Hamad Rashid Al Mohannadi, General Manager of Qatar Petrochemical Company, presented a paper on investment opportunities in oil, gas and basic industries such as steel.

‘We expect petrochemicals production to reach about 16 million tonnes by 2009 and a total output of 28 million tonnes by 2012, covering 16 different products ranging from polyethylene, aromatics to vinyl chain’, he said.

Qapco’s investment will mainly go into the expansion of polyethylene production for which the company is an important supplier with a production of about one million tonnes per year which it expects to increase to 4.6 million tonnes by 2012. Mr. Al Mohannadi noted that this development will offer downstream investment opportunities for small and medium sized industries.

5,000 more hotel rooms

Meanwhile, the Qatar Economic Forum also listened to a speech from Qatar Tourism Authority CEO and acting director-general Jan Paul de Boer. He said that inbound visitor arrivals to Qatar stood at 600,000 in 2005, but would grow to 1.4 million by 2010.

His calculations were based on stays in the country of between 1.7 to 1.9 nights. Forecasts also show that tourism to Qatar will grow at 4.1 per cent per annum with the number of jobs in the sector set to expand from 39,000 to 50,000 by 2012.

De Boer added: ‘The future is very, very bright. We have to build as a destination and see how to promote Qatar as a sustainable destination. The beaches are not the best in the world but it is something we are looking at. Qatar has a strong economy and the government is encouraging the non-energy sector to flourish.’

He noted that by end-2007, hotel capacity will be up by 5,000 rooms, increasing the range of options for visitors. ‘Tourism is still in its infancy but moving to maturity. The hotel occupancy rate is healthy and revenue grew tremendously, the highest in the region,’ he concluded.

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Thursday, April 20- 2006 @ 10:44 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.

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