Qatar is currently undertaking projects worth $8.48 billion to further establish itself as a tourism and venue destination, a report by the organisers of the upcoming Arabian Travel Market claimed.
The total number of projects planned or underway include five museums and libraries, 57 hotels and resorts, 22 shopping venues; 21 sports facilities, 11 theme parks, six convention centres and a theatre, it said.
Some of the projects underway include Doha Festival City, Doha Convention Centre, Rayyan Mall (Mall of Qatar), Doha Zoo, Lusail Museum, Katara Towers (Lusail Marina), and the football stadiums being constructed for the FIFA World Cup in 2022.
“Qatar has witnessed astounding economic growth over the past decade, and this has translated into a healthy tourism sector focused on culture, shopping, sporting events, meetings and exhibitions,” said Nadege Noblet, exhibition manager, Arabian Travel Market.
“The recent completion of important infrastructure projects, such as the iconic Hamad International Airport in 2014 and Qatar Airways’ plans to significantly expand its capacity across Europe this year, has confirmed Qatar’s position as an important travel and tourism hub for the region.”
The Gulf state attracted 2.8 million visitors in 2014, up 8.2 per cent over the previous year, the report, said, quoting data from IFP Info.
While 40 per cent of tourists came from other GCC countries, 28 per cent were from Asia and Oceania and 15 per cent came from Europe, according to figures released by Qatar Tourism Authority.
Hotel occupancy rates stood at an average of 73 per cent in 2014, with five-star properties seeing the maximum number of visitors.
The increased influx of visitors generated 61,000 jobs in the tourism sector and an economic injection of $7.6 billion, equal to 8.3 per cent of Qatar’s non-extraction GDP, the report added.
Qatar is looking to boost its tourism sector and expand its entertainment offerings as it gets set to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022. The country has also prepared its National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030, which aims to help the country diversify its economy and reduce dependence on its hydrocarbon resources.