Making the bid count


Published on

Viability's Guy Wilkinson writes a monthly column for Hotelier Middle East Magazine. This article originally appeared in January 2011.
For more information about Viability, please visit or

Published in: Business, Sports, News & Politics
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Making the bid count

  1. 1. 20COMMENT Making the bid count Viability director Guy Wilkinson reflects on Qatar’s successful FIFA World Cup bid and provides his take on the accommodation targets and the huge effort needed to reach them 45,708 rooms in 2010, in addition to 191 hotel residences with 19,822 hotel apartments, making a total of 559 properties with 65,530 letting units. To take a comparable 12-year period in the history of Dubai’s hotel sector, the emirate had 10,956 hotel rooms in 135 hotels in 1991 (excluding hotel apartments). After 12 years, the total had increased to 25,571 rooms in 271 hotels (in 2003), i.e., more than doubled. For Qatar to achieve its stated accommodation COLUMNIST targets by 2022 in terms of rooms, it would have to increase its existing round of applause for Qa- hotel supply by nine times! A tar! It really is an incredible achievement for a nation whose football team FIFA currently ranks 114th in its World Ranking and which has never even Guy Wilkinson has done his maths; but have the Qatar World Cup bid chiefs done theirs? FOR QATAR TO ACHIEVE ITS STATED However, if we agree that 75% of Qatar’s stated existing rooms supply in fact comprises non-hotel accom- modation, and that 6000 rooms of the 90,000 future rooms will be float- qualified to play in the World Cup, ACCOMMODATION TARGETS BY 2022 IN TERMS ing on water, then it is possible that to now be hosting the world’s larg- perhaps less than 20,000 of those est sporting event in 2022, beating OF ROOMS, IT WOULD HAVE TO INCREASE ITS may in fact be planned hotel rooms, no less a competitor than the USA EXISTING HOTEL SUPPLY BY NINE TIMES! which is, therefore, achievable. for the right to do so, by 14 votes Even then, in construction terms, to eight. a decade can go by in a flash. If you According to the FIFA Bid consider that some of the prominent Evaluation Report on Qatar’s vic- of compounds of above 2000 rooms thirds of the new rooms will be con- hotels planned to open in time for torious tender (which by the way each. The latest hotel supply data tained in 17 big projects, 13 of which the 2006 Asian Games are still not is up on the net for all to see), the from the Qatar Tourism Author- are to be completed “after 2016, but operational, you’ll see my point. The Gulf nation has already contracted ity (QTA) states that there were 58 in any case before 2021”. news of the World Cup and the US 85,000 rooms in 240 hotels and other hotels in 2009 with 9049 rooms. Let’s think about that. We all $50 billion that Qatar will be spend- types of accommodation (“above They claim that 28 new hotels will know that there are a lot of hotels ing on infrastructure to ensure the all in the four-star category”), thus have opened by the end of 2010, so under construction in Doha, as event’s smooth running will surely exceeding FIFA’s minimum World let’s round the numbers up to say, shown in the Hotelier listings, put an end to any lingering doubts Cup requirement of 60,000 rooms. 85 hotels with 10,000 rooms. We including luminary projects such that private developers may have According to reports, the total has can, therefore, assume that at least as a second Four Seasons and a had about their construction proj- crept up to 90,000 rooms since the 30,000 or three quarters of the con- second InterContinental, a Hilton, ects there. Once again, the coun- report was published. tracted existing rooms are in fact a St. Regis, a Mandarin Oriental, try’s construction resources will Doha hoteliers involved in the bid contained within residential, staff the new Qatar Convention Centre be strained to breaking point and confirm they signed a contract with or other types of accommodation tower hotel and a bunch of others. projects will risk becoming delayed. the Qatar government, pledging blocks — not in fact, hotels. But can there really be 140 projects Let’s hope there’s someone at the rooms for the event, as they did for The Qatar bid also promises 140 in 12 years? (And which are these helm with a whip to crack, rolling the Asian Games in 2006. Presum- new hotels (and by the same logic, big projects? They must be huge!) their sleeves up as we speak! HME ably the same commitment has been presumably also other types of tran- required from developers of future sient accommodation) with 55,000 YOU DO THE MATHS projects too. new rooms, including one or more I know that comparison with Dubai Of the original 85,000 contracted cruise ships with 6000 rooms to be is anathema to fans of Qatar, but rooms, says the report, 40,000 are moored at the New Doha Port in Al at least in terms of numbers, it may Guy Wilkinson is a director of Viability, a already available within more than Wakrah, which is set to open in 2014 throw light on the practicability hospitality and property consulting firm in Dubai. 100 existing “hotels, villages and with dedicated cruise ship berths. of this claim. To put things in per- For more information, e-mail: compounds”, including a number The bid report states that two spective, Dubai had 368 hotels with January 2011 • Hotelier Middle East