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Hotel Industry leaders examine Qatar’s long term vision of the tourism sector

Hotel Industry leaders examine Qatar’s long term vision of the tourism sector

Doha, Qatar 5 February 2014: The organisers of the Arabian Hotel Investment Conference (AHIC 2013) held an invitation only regional briefing this week hosted by InterContinental Hotels Group ( IHG ) in Crown Plaza in Doha, to discuss Qatar’s long term vision of the tourism sector and review of local and global hotel performance indicators and pipeline.

The briefing commenced with a global review of key hotel performance indicators and pipeline with a focus on Qatar, presented by Philip Wooller, Area Director for Middle East and Africa at STR Global.

Philip said: “Despite another year of increased supply (6.5%) Doha continues to improve its reputation as a destination for business and leisure. Demand increased by 17.7% resulting in occupancy increases of 11%. However, room rates achieved dropped by 7.9% which was perhaps more to do with the perceived impact of the 2012 new supply numbers which increased by 35% as Hotels sought for higher market share through competitive pricing. Due to the better than expected occupancy levels RevPAR stayed in positive territory at 2%.”

The Middle East and Africa region reported positive performance results during December 2013 when reported in U.S. dollars, according STR Global. The region reported a 3.0-percent increase in occupancy to 59.5 percent, a 4.2-percent increase in average daily rate to US$180.65 and a 7.3-percent increase in revenue per available room to US$107.44. Demand increased in the Middle East by 6.6% at YE while supply increased by 10.2%. Key markets achieved RevPAR increases of more than 10 percent are: Amman (+19.2 percent to US$89.17), Jeddah and Saudi Arabia (+11.5 percent to US$162.72).

The regional briefing in Qatar also included the following participants:

  • Ronald Egelman, Director of Development, Middle East and Africa, InterContinental Hotels Group( IHG )
  • Filippo Sona, Director and Head of hotels (MENA region), Colliers International
  • Marwan Koleilat, Chief Commercial Officer, Qatar Airways
  • Kees Hartzuiker, Chief Executive Officer, Roya International

Speaking of the importance of planning ahead, as it pertains to successful hotel developments, Kees Hartzuiker, Chief Executive Officer of hospitality consultancy firm Roya International said: “When it comes to hotels vs hotel apartments, the past couple of years have shown that including both components in a property offers the flexibility to react to ever changing market trends which in turn helps optimize performance and protect owner’s returns.” Hartzuiker also highlighted the significant impact food and beverage operations have had on the bottom line in the Doha hotel arena, stating: “Hotel outlets are part of the social fabric of this city and F&B currently accounts for over half of the revenues – owners simply cannot afford to be passive on this front. Planning and executing the right F&B strategy is critical in today’s landscape and developers are urged to explore different concepts and operating philosophies.” The Doha hotel market continues to show positive results with an increase in occupancies not only during the month of November, but throughout 2013. This is a positive sign for the Qatari market given the increase in supply during the year and can be attributed to the increase in passenger numbers achieved by Qatar Airways through their expanding operations, global network and the Doha Stopover Program. Commenting on the briefing, Edmund O’Sullivan, Chairman of MEED Events commented:

“We have chosen Qatar for the second year to host one of our pre-AHIC regional briefings, because we believe in the continued efforts by this country to invest heavily in the hospitality and tourism sector, which is expected to boost job creation in the next few years. With 81 hotels currently operating in Qatar and 110 under construction, Qatar promises almost 1, 27,000 jobs for hospitality professionals by 2030. He added: “This proves that the Gulf region is becoming stronger and that the tourism sector in GCC countries is embedded in the heart of its diversification strategy to raise the living standards of their citizens, and provide them with job opportunities on the highest international business standards.” AHIC 2014, which is organised by MEED and Bench Events, will take place at the Madinat Jumeirah from 4-5 May 2014.