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Mon 6 Dec 2010 03:24 PM

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Qatar eyes cruise liners to bolster hotel supply in 2022 World Cup

FIFA’s report on the Qatari bid states cruise ships will supply up to 6,000 rooms for fans and officials

Qatar eyes cruise liners to bolster hotel supply in 2022 World Cup
CRUISE ACCOMMODATION: Qatar plans to use cruise ships to accommodate visitors during the 2022 Word Cup (Getty Images)

Qatar is planning to use cruise ships to accommodate visitors during the World Cup tournament in 2022, Arabian Business has learned.

Qatar is planning to have in place around 240 properties before the start of the World Cup in 2022, according to FIFA’s official report on the evaluation of the Qatari bid.

The report stated that Qatar currently has 100 existing hotels, villages and compounds spread across the seven host cities. An additional 140 properties will be sourced or constructed to meet accommodation needs, “including a cruise ship project in Al Wakrah with 6,000 rooms,” the report added.

“Cruise ships are good solutions... it makes sense,” said Jalil Mekouar, regional director and head of real estate advisory at Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels.

“Qatar will face similar issues as other countries have been facing, in terms of what do you do with all the inventory once the event is over… This challenge will be amplified for Qatar as we are talking about a city state, pretty much, and we talking of a small place physically, which is not as large as South Africa,” he added.

The report stated that two thirds of the new supply of inventory, which will amount to around an extra 55,000 rooms, will be covered by 17 construction projects, 13 of which will be completed by 2016.

As part of its bid, Qatar said it plans to double the number of hotel rooms to nearly 90,000 in time for the tournament, which will result in an investment of around $17bn over the next five years.

While the report stated Qatar currently attracts around one million visitors a year and aims to grow visitor numbers by 20 percent in the next five years, the country is already suffering from an oversupply in its hotel sector.

“The World Cup announcement has come at a crucial time in the growth of the hotel sector in Doha, which many privately feared was heading for oversupply and a rate war, as is being experienced now in Dubai’s Al Barsha district, for example,” said Guy Wilkinson, general manager at Viability, a Dubai-based hospitality consultancy company.

With the oversupply issue already in place, Mekouar said “talk to double [the inventory] is just going to emphasis the problem rather than solve it.”

However, Wilkinson was confident that growth in the tourism sector in Qatar could sustain the growth in supply.

“Qatar has already witnessed the importance of a major global sporting event to its hotel sector, when it hosted the 15th Asian Games in 2006. Not only were the hotels booked out during the two weeks of the games themselves, but they received significant and increasing demand for at least two or three years before that,” he added.

Using cruise ships as a short-term answer is one that was also used in South Africa during the last World Cup, when ships anchored off Port Elizabeth, Durban and Cape Town helped supply up to 4,500 extra rooms as temporary accommodation.

While cruise ships are one answer to the temporary demand for accommodation, Mekouar said the oversupply issue in general “is certainly something to be looked at and I am interested to see what the response of the Qataris is.”

Digital magazine: Read the latest edition of Arabian Business online

Expat UAE 9 years ago

Excellent article...

Bored Banker 9 years ago

"Excellent Article" How is this an excellent article when no research has been carried out to verify any of the facts.

First off Qatar is going to "double the number of hotel rooms to nearly 90,000"

Really ?

Qatar currently has 8,000 Hotels rooms as stated on their own tourism web site. Qatar does not need to double the hotel rooms but increase them by a factor of 10.

During the bidding process I kept hearing the figures on hotel rooms that were completely inaccurate.

Use the internet and go back in time to 2005. Before the Asian Games the Qatar Tourism authority PROMISED 17,500 rooms would be available for the games, they delivered approx. 6000

Qatar currently averages an occupancy rate at just below 50% as stated by the general manager of the "W" Hotel when it opened.

Ben 9 years ago

Interesting article and problematic. I am curious to read the follow up on this topic

CSS 9 years ago

Instead of building new hotels etc why not give the ordinary people a chance to participiate and benefit also. How about a programme where the general public use the spare capacity of their houses or build an annex to their property to accommodate a minimum of 1 or more visitors etc. The additional accommodation can be catergoised into Western or Arabic styles etc, and act like an extended part of the house but still private. The Authorities should set up a maximum rental charge, and the Authority takes a small percentage for handling etc. This way, the general public can benefit and not just the big powerful corporations. That would be helping the country and the people.

harry winston 9 years ago

why not build modular hotels , then ship them out along with the stadiums on the cruise ships

S.A. Hye 9 years ago

Idea by CSS is nothing new in the western world. It would be very good temporary solution to short-supply of accommodation. In Hungary, Germany and other most western countries this system is being followed now for decades. Not only Qatari's can participate, but also expatriates can participate. All you need is to inspect the place and the arrangments of the accommodation, and issue a licence. Such participant has simply to register at the govt body and link themselves electronically, who is responsible for providing the rooms for the tourists and regulate the system.

CSS 9 years ago

Sure, I never said this is a new idea. In fact this concept has been in existance in many Asian countries for ages and in some places called "Paying Guest". Quite common in India, China, Thailand etc.