(MENAFN - Arab News) Qatar has recorded positive hotel performance results in 2011 according to STR Global, reflecting increasing demand and interest in business and tourism as it prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
Occupancy remained stable last year edging 0.4 percent higher from 2010 while average daily rates increased 0.7 percent, STR Global said.
Meanwhile, more than 6,000 hotel rooms comprising 25 hotels and 10 hotel apartments opened up in the market in the third quarter of last year according to the Qatar Tourism Authority.
Supporting these positive results, Arabian Travel Market (ATM), a major travel exhibition in the Middle East, is witnessing strong online visitor interest months ahead of the event. The number of pre-registered visitors from Qatar is already up 133 percent from last year, while the number of visitors who are interested in buying products and services from Qatar has risen 109 percent.
"Over the coming 10 years the rise in visitors to Qatar will be driven largely by the business sector as the Gulf state continues to put in place world-class infrastructure for the World Cup, and also beyond for its 2030 vision," said Mark Walsh, portfolio director, Reed Travel Exhibitions.
In addition to the construction of 12 new football stadiums, Qatar is building 77 new hotels and 42 hotel apartments ahead of the 2022 tournament.
Over 100 billion worth of infrastructure is also due to be completed, including the new 11 billion Doha International Airport, the 6 billion Doha port project and a 25 billion metro and railway system.
The number of tourist arrivals to Qatar is expected to reach as many as 3.7 million by 2022, up from 900,000 currently, according to Secretary General of Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee Hassan Al-Thawadi.
Visitor registrations for the four-day Arabian Travel Market show, which opens on April 30, 2012, are already up 132 percent from the same time last year, at nearly 2,000 visitors. Top tourism bodies including Qatar National Hotels Company, the Qatar Tourism Authority and Qatar Airways will lead exhibitor presence from the Gulf state.
European pre-registrations for the event have also risen 94 percent. The number of tourists visiting the Middle East is expected to grow by up to 5 percent this year following an 8 percent decline last year, according to a recent report by the UN World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). There were an estimated five million fewer international tourist arrivals last year, down to 55 million, due to the turmoil in some of the region's countries, UNWTO said.
The show has grown to become the largest showcase of its kind in the region and one of the biggest in the world. Last year 2,232 exhibitors covering nearly 20,000 square meters, attracted more than 22,000 attendees.
The line-up for this year's Arabian Travel Market will bring together annual favorites and a number of brand new events including the inaugural UNWTO regional tourism ministers' conference and the WTM Vision forum, which will focus on Middle East travel trends and the online travel market.
Covering the entire week, the popular Seminar Theatre series of sessions will address industry hot topics from developments in the aviation sector and hotel branding to Shariah-compliant travel.
The all-new Tech Theatre is a dedicated platform that provides an opportunity to gain invaluable insight into leading edge industry-related technologies including social media and GDS.
For the second year running, Arabian Travel Market will once again host its own unique industry version of The Apprentice to uncover the best emerging regional talent.
Other regular features include the New Frontiers Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to tourism development in the face of overwhelming adversity, and the perennially popular industry Careers Day will wrap up the week.