Quarterly Report Qatar Q4 2020: Hospitality Market Overview
The COVID-19 pandemic hits occupancy rates and revenues for 2022
According to National Tourism Council Statistics, the supply of hotel keys increased to 28,249, by September 2020, a 5% increase in 12 months. More than 20,000 additional hotel keys are currently under construction and will complete before the FIFA World Cup in 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the delivery of new
hotels in 2020, which is likely to result in a sharp increase in
supply in 2021.
The most recently released statistics from the NTC show that COVID-19 lockdown measures severely impacted hotel performance from March of 2020, after a promising start to the year. Despite an increase in year-on-year tourist arrivals by 32% in January and February, year-to-date arrivals had fallen by 63%
by the end of September.
Overall, Qatar’s hotel occupancy rates reached 69% in February 2020, underscoring the improving performance in the tourism sector; however, the introduction of lockdown measures resulted in an immediate drop to 55% in March. While the government utilised several hotels for quarantine purposes throughout the year, the occupancy rates for available hotels fell to between 44% and 46% during the summer months.
Overall Average Daily Rates fell to below QAR 297 in May but recovered to QAR 437 in August. Average Daily Rates had dropped just 2% on 2019 figures for the nine months to the end of September.
The approval of a COVID-19 vaccine for use in Q4 was welcome news to the hospitality sector. Despite this positive development, hotel performance metrics are unlikely to improve significantly for several months as governments take a cautious approach to re-opening and travel until vaccinations have been widely rolled out.
The lifting of the blockade of Qatar by the Saudi-led coalition in January is expected to provide a timely boost to Qatar’s hospitality sector – although COVID-19 restrictions will delay the return of visitors. Before the introduction of the blockade, tourism from within the GCC contributed almost 50% of all arrivals to Qatar.
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