Analysis of emerging tourism industry in qatar


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Analysis of emerging tourism industry in qatar

  1. 1. 2011Analysis of Emerging Tourism Industry in Qatar Paritosh Kashyap
  2. 2. Analysis of Emerging Tourism Industry in QatarQatar considered is considered as one of the fastest growing economies across the world. Thesuccess saga of Qatar in the recent past is commendable. It is estimated that the Gulf stateenjoys one of the highest per capita income across the globe.. In spite of achievements in various fields, it is important to note that the tourism industry inQatar is in its nascent phase. The Gulf state is making huge investments in developing state ofthe art infrastructure. However the tourism industry in Qatar, where 95% of tourists arebusiness travelers, is still in its inception stage and has a long way to go. The given researchanalysis will analyze the emerging tourism sector of Qatar and benchmark its capital Dohaagainst another oil rich emirate, Abu DhabiTourism Industry: General overviewQatar where petroleum constitutes 70% of its govt. revenue and 85% of export, has ambitiousplans for diversifying into various other alternate sectors-tourism is one of them. Thoughtourism sector in Qatar is not much matured, it’s surely is high up on the govt. agenda and isattracting huge investments, direct as well as indirect.In 2009, Qatar’s total tourism revenue had been US $ 0.7 billion, lagging behind Bahrain’s US $1.1 billion and UAE’s US $ 7.2 Billion (Euromonitor blog, 2010). The biggest driving force forthe sector is Qatar’s winning the bid to host football World Cup 2022 which is considered as thebiggest sporting event across the world. Qatar will be the 1st Arab state to have the privilege ofhosting such a huge sports event. In order to prepare for the World Cup, the nation is seekinghuge of huge investments in infrastructure, hotels, and sporting utilities.Besides the preparation for the soccer world cup some of the other major infrastructure projectsinclude Lusail city, Qatar Entertainment City, Pearl Project, Qatar Metro Project, internationalairports, football stadiums etc.Paritosh Kashyap Page 2
  3. 3. Analysis of Emerging Tourism Industry in QatarThe following figure shows the inflow of tourists over the period of time. The slight spike in2006 over 2004 is on the account of Asian games 2006, conducted in Doha (Source of data:Euromonitor Blog). 1.8 1.8 1.6 1.4 1.4 1.1 1.2 1.00 0.9 1 0.8 0.6 0.6 0.4 0.2 0Qatar is vigorously building new hotels to bolster its emerging tourism industry. It already hasa wide range of luxury hotels and is currently focusing more on development of 3 star and 4star hotels. In 2010, it was estimated that it had added 2,500 new rooms thereby bringing thetotal number of rooms to more than 11,000. (, 2010) The following graphreflects the number of hotel rooms including past as well as future projections:Paritosh Kashyap Page 3
  4. 4. Analysis of Emerging Tourism Industry in Qatar 90,000 90,000 80,000 80,000 70,000 60,000 50,000 40,000 29,000 30,000 20,000 11,000 6,000 7,500 10,000 3,700 0(Source of data:,, following figure shows percentage of inbound tourists from various countries in the year2008 Bahrain 1% 1% 2% France 8% 4% Iran 4% 40% 4% Jordan Kuwait Lebanon 23% Oman 4% Saudi Arabia 7% Syria UAE 1% 1% UK YemenParitosh Kashyap Page 4
  5. 5. Analysis of Emerging Tourism Industry in QatarTypes of tourism in QatarQatar’s tourism industry primarily depends on business tourism and as mentioned earlier- 95%of the travelers are business travelers. Along with business tourism, other forms of tourismwhich are evolving are luxury tourism, sports tourism and desert tourism etc. Business Tourism: The high end business tourism is the corner stone of the tourism industry at Qatar. Qatar’s vibrant economy and emergence as a constructive place to do business has been helpful to the business tourism industry in the state. The capital city Doha is considered as a powerful MICE (Meetings, Incentive travel, Conferences and Exhibition) venue along with other Middle Eastern counterparts, like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Cairo. In order to support its MICE industry, Qatar has established an institution named QMDI-“Qatar MICE Development Institute”, which is in the business of advising, supporting and conducting top notch business events at Qatar with international expertise. Presently, there are international hotel chains along with Culture and Heritage Village and Doha Exhibition Center- effectively catering to the MICE segment. Next year, in 2012, the QNCC (Qatar national exhibition center) with a massive space of 40,000 Sq meters is expected to be operational, adding further strength to the MICE industry. Lifestyle tourism: Qatar is a place where modern brilliance blends well with the traditional Qatari charm. Blessed with exotic desert landscapes and magnificent coast line, Qatar has a wide range of things to offer for life style tourists, hailing from all around the globe. It is seeking huge investments in building lifestyle tourism avenues which includes luxury hotels, resorts, spas, marinas, golf courses, exotic islands, coastline development, cultural museums etc. Though still in its initial phase, Qatar is coming up with multi-billion dollar master plans to transform itself into a magnificent lifestyle tourist destination.Paritosh Kashyap Page 5
  6. 6. Analysis of Emerging Tourism Industry in Qatar Sports tourism: Like other Middle Eastern/GCC cities such as Dubai and Bahrain, Doha is emerging fast as a sports tourism destination. The very 1st major sporting event in Qatar was Asian Games 2006, the second largest sporting event after the Olympics. Qatar built around 30 sports facilities for the same. The Asian Games 2006, the biggest Asian game of its time, saw 45 countries participating in 40 competitive events. (European business review, 2005). Since then, Qatar has conducted some world class events like, SonyEricsson WTA Tour, ExxonMobil Tennis Open, Qatar Masters Cup (golf) and Asian Cup Football 2011 etc. QTA (Qatar tourism authority), QSI (Qatar sports investment) and the Qatar Olympic Committee, in association with other private players have invested extensively in developing world class sporting complexes such as Aspire Zone, Khalifa stadium, Doha golf course, Lusail international race circuit etc- equipped with state of the art facilities. However the biggest success which Qatar has got in this area was winning the bid for hosting 2022 Football World Cup.Major tourism development projectsThe tourism industry in Qatar is expected to go through a very interesting phase in the comingyears. There is plethora of massive projects underway including a new airport. Some of themajor construction projects are mentioned below- Lusail city: It’s a US $ 7.2 billion real estate development project which can accommodate 200, 000 individuals. Spread across an area of 37 Sq Kilometer, it consists of residences, towers, resorts, hotels and an offshore island with 500 villas. The project was announced in 2005 and is expected to be finished by 2020. (, 2010)Paritosh Kashyap Page 6
  7. 7. Analysis of Emerging Tourism Industry in Qatar Qatar Entertainment City: Qatar entertainment city, a project funded by ADIH (Abu Dhabi investment house), it is part of grand Lusail city development project. It aspires to transform Doha into world class tourist destination. Spread across an area of 10 Sq Kilometer with a unique Kilometer long waterfront, the project will serve three purpose- residence, retail and entertainment. Along with sea front apartments and villas, five star hotels and retail outlets, the US $ 10 billion entertainment city project will provide a wide range of entertainment options such as roller coasters, theme parks, cafes, go carting, rain forests, theatres etc. (, 2011) Pearl island project: The US $ 20 billion pearl island is a manmade island spread across an area of four Sq Kilometer, developed by United Development Company (UDC), the biggest private equity firm in Qatar. The mixed used project will be consisting of world class apartments, villas, sea front accommodations, hotels and resorts along with wide range of entertainment facilities such as Marinas with around 1000 boats, yacht club, Restaurants etc. The project was started in 2006 and is expected to finish by 2011. Once completed the island will havek 18000 luxury houses, capable of accommodating 41,000 individuals along with 2 million Sq feet of retail space used for retail outlets, restaurants etc. (pearl island homepage, 2011) New Doha international airport: By 2012, the new Doha international airport (NDIA) will be operational. The US $ 11 billion airport with an annual capacity of 24 million passengers (once fully complete, it can handle around 50 million passengers) and 1.3 million cargos, is expected to be one of the most high tech airports in the world(, 2009).2022 World Cup: PreparationsOne of the biggest successes that Qatar witnessed in the recent past is winning the bid toconduct Football World Cup 2022. The entire state is very excited and is not keeping any stoneParitosh Kashyap Page 7
  8. 8. Analysis of Emerging Tourism Industry in Qatarunturned to make the event a grand success. In order to conduct the event huge investmentplans are on cards. The following part will discuss the road map of preparation for the worldcup:- Road, railways and sea networks: It has been estimated that during the World Cup, 400,000 fans will be visiting Doha from all around the world. In order to facilitate their smooth and fast movement, Qatar is seeking huge investments. It includes allocating US $ 20 billion for the development of road and highway networks, US $ 11 billion for the new airport discussed above, US $ 5.5 billion for deepwater port, US $ 4 billion for building a bridge between Bahrain and Qatar over the sea. There will be an investment of approximately US $ 40 billion in developing a 340 Kilometer, 98 station metro railway networks for Doha and its outer skirts. (, 2011) Football stadium: There is a US $ 4 billion investment plan for building nine stadiums and renovating three existing stadiums. In order to cope with the intense heat, prevalent in this part of globe during the time of world cup, Qatar will implement cutting edge climate technologies which can keep the temperature with in 28 degree Celsius. (, 2010) Hotels: To accommodate the vast pool of fans coming from all around the world, Qatar has invested religiously in developing 3 star and 4 star hotels. It is expected that by 2022 Qatar will have around 90,000 rooms. Along with the existing 100 properties, 140 new properties will be used for meeting the accommodation requirements. Qatar is also planning to use a cruise ship with 6000 rooms for accommodating the fans. (, 2010) Doha vs. Abu DhabiParitosh Kashyap Page 8
  9. 9. Analysis of Emerging Tourism Industry in Qatar Both Qatar and Abu Dhabi are considered as emerging tourist destinations and have striking similarity. In the following part the tourism industry of Qatar and Abu Dhabi will be compared across various parameters. Parameters Doha Abu Dhabi No. of tourists in 2008 0.9 million 1.4 million No. of tourists in 2012 1.4 million 2.7 million (estimated) No. of hotel rooms in 2008 6,000 12,000 No. of hotel rooms in 2012 29,000 25,000 (estimated) Worth of tourism projects US $ 122.7 billion US $ 131.3 billion underway # National carrier, fleet size Qatar airways, 93 +139 Etihad airways, 57 + and destinations served (orders), 100 102(orders), 66 Business travelers as 95 percentage 72 percentage percentage of total visitors Tourism is high up on the agendas for both the Arab state- Doha (Qatar) as well as Abu Dhab, and both are seeking huge investments in tourism infrastructure and marketing them very aggressively. While Qatar is preparing hard for 2022, Abu Dhabi aspires having around 7.9 million tourists by the end of 2030, as a part of its vision 2030. They have their similarities as well as individual competencies. While going by the table, it can be inferred that Abu Dhabi has narrow advantage over Qatar, on account of various parameters such as number of, tourists, hotel rooms etc, Qatar’s advantage lies in its robust economic growth, escalation and expansion plan for its tourism industry,Paritosh Kashyap Page 9
  10. 10. Analysis of Emerging Tourism Industry in Qatar emergence of its national carrier Qatar airways as a world class carrier and winning the bid for organizing football world cup 2022 which can do unprecedented marketing for Qatar as a destination. Another interesting point that has to be observed is that since both the Arab state share a lot of similarities and are also geographically closely placed, their ambitious plans for tourism are bound to clash at some point of another. One’s gain may be another’s loss. Recommendations for tourism industry at Qatar:- Unique Brand Proposition: - In the near future Qatar needs devise a unique positioning plan for itself. Qatar may have made a mark as one of the fastest economies in the world but as far as tourism is concern there is hardly anything differentiating Qatar from other Arab states such as Abu Dhabi, Bahrain or Kuwait. In line with other states it is also perceived as a cash / oil rich Gulf state with upcoming real estate projects, sky scrapers, shopping malls, spas and resorts etc. Qatar needs to build a unique promotional campaign which can directly differentiate Qatar from rest of the Gulf States. Some of the possible unique brand propositions could be its Arabic heritage, economic growth, safety, friendly populace etc. 2022 world cup: 2022 world cup will provide a great opportunity for Qatar to showcase its grandeur to the globe. After winning the bid, Qatar is attracting a lot of international attention. The entire process of preparation for the world cup canParitosh Kashyap Page 10
  11. 11. Analysis of Emerging Tourism Industry in Qatar do wonders in building brand Qatar. The overall world cup preparation needs to be aligned with Qatar’s brand building campaign. Utilization of hotel rooms post world cup: Qatar is planning to build 90,000 hotel rooms for the world cup. Once the world cup is over, further utilization of such a large inventory of hotel rooms will be an upheaval task. In order to handle the given possibility, Qatar needs to develop a strong market for a wide range of tourism such as, leisure, life style, sports, desert, cultural, tourism. Engage business travelers: 95% of the inbound travelers visit Qatar for business purpose. Qatar needs to engage such travelers well, as it has been observed that business visitors had high chances of revisiting the location for leisure purpose. Strong focus on inbound tourism: With a per capita GDP of US $ 93,000 in 2008, (Euromonitor, 2009) Qataris are among the richest individuals in the world. Hence tourism authorities at Qatar should also emphasize on domestic tourism, given the fact that Qatari nationals have huge disposable income to spend.Reference: 1> Euromonitor blog, 2010, Qatar’s ambition to develop its tourism sector, available at < sector.html> 2>, 2010, Qatar to see big increase in hotel rooms in 2010, available at < 9747.html> 3>, 2011, homepage, available at Kashyap Page 11
  12. 12. Analysis of Emerging Tourism Industry in Qatar 4> European business review, 2005, Intercontinental hotel links regional development to booming sports tourism sector, available at <> 5> Arabian, 2010, Lusail to complete Qatari city in ten years, available at 6>, 2011, home page, available at 7>, 2011, homepage, available at 8>, 2009, New Doha international airport, available at 9>, 2011, Qatar $ 40 billion investment for world cup, available at world-cup 10>, 2010, Qatar: investment provides new business opportunities, available at < businesses-opportunities> 11>, 2010, World cup fans housed at sea for Qatar 2022, available at 12> Euromonitor, 2009, Euromonitor international: travel and tourism in Qatar, p-48Paritosh Kashyap Page 12