Quarterly Report Qatar Q2 2020: Hospitality Market Overview
The COVID-19 outbreak has severely impacted the hospitality sector with the majority of business suspended for the duration of Q2
According to the Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA), YTD tourist arrivals (by air) in May 2020 showed a 49% decline compared to 2019, due to the enforced government restrictions on international travel into Qatar. YTD May arrivals by sea showed an increase of 23%, due to substantial growth of the cruise industry in the Gulf (pre-COVID-19). Overall, the YTD May drop in visitor numbers reached 41%.
Ramadan, which took place between April 23rd and May 23rd this year, is usually a busy time for hotel F&B outlets, serving Iftar and Suhoor meals for companies and families until late at night. This loss of revenue compounded the downturn in visitor numbers; however, from July 1st, many hotels are re-opening their restaurants, albeit with reduced capacities.
Phase 3 of the ‘post-COVID-19 re-opening’ of Qatar will include a mandatory two weeks’ stay at designated quarantine hotels for anyone entering the country. This may provide a small boost to occupancy numbers in Q3; however, we don’t expect signs of a real recovery in the sector before Q4.
While there were no new hotel openings in Q2, the Gloria Hotel in Al Mirqab district of Doha sold at a price that reflected approx. QAR 680,000 per key (169 rooms). Following a positive start to the year, which saw a year on year increase in occupancy in January and February, performance metrics tumbled in March after the introduction of lockdown measures. The industry focus will be to reinstate and build on the pre-COVID-19 figures in 2021.
There were 27,598 keys in 132 establishments by July 2020. While construction has continued on the pipeline supply of approx. 20,000 new keys, we expect the launch of several establishments, planned for 2020, to be pushed back to 2021. One of the larger hospitality development projects in Qatar, Qetaifan Projects, recently awarded all the main work contracts for the Qetaifan Island North project, with an anticipated completion date of November 2021.
Meanwhile, one of Qatar’s other leading tourism projects, Salwa Beach Resort, is expected to open in the coming months. By November 2022, we expect that approx. 48,000 permanent hotel keys will be delivered, to help provide the accommodation required for the FIFA World Cup.
Hamad International Airport (HIA) expansion contracts were awarded before the COVID-19 measures. While the future of the travel business is uncertain, an increase in capacity will undoubtedly help Qatar prepare for the rebound in tourism, especially with the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the horizon.
To find a property for lease in Doha, please click here to start your property search.