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Qatar’s Travel Market Set to Grow to USD7.7bn by 2014


Middle East : 19 April 2013

Source: Gulf Times 2013

Backed by the government’s focus on investing in tourism development, Qatar’s travel market is expected to grow steadily to $7.7bn by 2014 from $5.4bn last year, a new research released by global travel market research firm PhoCusWright has revealed.

The online travel market in Qatar will see a “significant” boost, rising from $944mn in 2012 to an estimated $1.6bn in 2014, accounting for about 10% of the Middle Eastern online market. Gross bookings made by online travel agencies are expected to rise from $342mn in 2012 to $548mn in 2014, said the report, co-sponsored by Amadeus, a leading technology partner and transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry.

“The figures are indicative of the strong growth potential of the overall travel and tourism sector in Qatar. Undoubtedly, the sector will see further advancement on the back of ambitious development plans by the government to transform Qatar’s travel industry,” said Wafiq al-Wahidi, general manager, Amadeus Qatar.

Heavy investments are being allocated to transportation, travel accommodation, infrastructure and other tourism related sectors, he said, adding further, the FIFA 2022 World Cup is set to boost Qatar’s travel industry, which is channelling billion of dollars into significant infrastructure developments that will support demand in the run-up to the event.

A comprehensive assessment of the travel and tourism industry in the Middle East, the research particularly focuses on the growth and potential of the online travel segment across markets including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.

While Internet penetration in Qatar stands at 82%, mobile penetration is among the highest in the world at 182% and smart phone penetration at 75%, the report said online shopping is “still considerably low”.

“However, it will grow steadily, driven by government initiatives, retailer investment and, most importantly, a savvy, young population open to trying new technologies,” it added.

With Qatar Airways dominating the market and in close competition with regional rivals Emirates and Etihad, PhoCusWright anticipates that gross bookings made by the airline sector in Qatar will increase from $4.6bn in 2012 to $6.8bn in 2014.

With Qatar having the smallest lodging infrastructure in the region, the gross bookings made in the travel sector dipped from $808mn in 2011 to $749mn in 2012. However, it is projected that bookings will increase to $878mn in 2014, according to the research.

Further, with online shopping across the Arab world booming, growing numbers of car rental entities in Qatar are expected to turn to the Internet for domestic and worldwide bookings and several car rental firms in the country have launched new websites along with simplified versions for mobile phone users, the research said.

As a result, gross bookings made in the car rental space are seeing a steady increase and are expected to touch $50.7mn in 2014, it said.

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