Qatar targets 4m tourists by 2020

Qatar is targeting 4 million visitors by 2020, as it invests big money in its growing tourism industry.

The Gulf state saw visitor numbers grow 7.7 per cent in the first nine months of 2015 compared to the same period of 2014, with a total of 2.2 million visits.

Hamad International Airport, meanwhile, welcomed 30 million passengers across the whole of last year.

According to a Q3 2015 HVS report, tourism contributed $4.2 billion (2 per cent) to Qatar’s GDP in 2014, with that figure expected to grow to $4.6 billion in 2015.

On the back of that growth, Qatar is feeling confident in its burgeoning tourism and hospital sector.

“Looking further ahead, this is expected to grow annually by 4.7 per cent, to reach $7.2 billion in 2025 as Qatar works towards its strategic goal of positioning itself as a ‘world-class hub with deep cultural roots’, by creating a high profile product that will appeal to all market segments from cultural tourists and families to sports fans and business travellers,” Nadege Noblet-Segers, exhibition manager, Arabian Travel Market, told Trade Arabia.

GCC residents made up the majority (around 45 per cent) of visitors, followed by visitors from Asia (25.3 per cent) and Europe (13.9 per cent) respectively.

The figures arrive as the nation prepares to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022. Indeed, Qatar representatives returned to Arabian Travel Marker earlier this year to showcase its expanding hotel and infrastructure pipeline.

The HVS report records 11 new hotel properties in the nation, with 1,400 rooms added to the market in 2015 – a key step towards a target of 50,000 additional rooms by the football tournament.

Kempinski Marsa Malaz Hotel, Banana Island Resort by Anantara and Melia Doha Hotel were a few of the brands to enter the market last year, with the Qatar Tourism Authority reporting 10,000 rooms now under construction and expected to enter the market by 2018/9.

Photo: Martin Alvarez