9pc rise in tourist arrivals

May 27, 2014 - 5:53:10 am

DOHA: The number of tourist arrivals in Qatar for the first quarter totalled 387,022, representing a strong nine percent year-on-year increase, says Qatar Tourism Authority’s (QTA) first quarter report released yesterday. According to the report, all key indicators of the tourism sector demonstrated improvement and growth from the previous year comparable period.

Visitors increased from most corners of the globe, with particularly good performance coming from within the GCC countries. Overall, GCC tourists were up by 5 percent, with Saudi Arabia the largest single source of visitors with 188,621 travelers and Kuwait the fastest growing with 42 percent. Overall visitors from other parts of the world rose by about 26 percent.

The average hotel occupancy rate rose from 68 percent to 75 percent, assisted by the 1.9 percent decrease in available rooms from 13,551 in Q1 2013 to 13,251 in Q1 2014 due to renovation-related closures. Total Revenue at 4 and 5-Star hotels increased by 5.4 percent, reaching a total of QR999.4m for the quarter. For the first time, QTA included 3-star hotel revenue data in the quarterly report, with total revenue reaching QR1m in a growing area of the hotel market.

The total number of hotels under construction increased to 125 properties in the first quarter 2014 from 124 at the end of 2013, corresponding to 21,812 rooms expected to be delivered.

In a sign of further development, the first quarter of 2014 saw QTA and public and private sector stakeholders launch the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030. Formulated as the roadmap for the development of the industry in the coming decades, it will guide QTA’s efforts towards making Qatar ‘a world-class destination with deep cultural roots.’ QTA has a key role to play in coordinating the development of a sustainable tourism sector in Qatar, and growing tourism’s contribution to a diversified national economy. A diverse range of events and activities in Qatar, and increased regional and international presence during the first quarter of 2014 contributed to growth in the leisure sector.The Peninsula