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The World Cup has become ultimate test for countries looking to grow their nascent, or floundering, tourism markets and they’re willing to do whatever it takes to make a strong first impression.

Qatar Tourism, the official government body, has outlined a QAR 236 billion (US $65 billion) investment programme ahead of the country’s hosting of the 2022 football World Cup.

News of the Qatar government’s plan for a sustained period of investment in the country’s tourism infrastructure came as travel market representatives welcomed the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) 2013 road show to the country ahead of the event in May.

“Tourist arrivals in Qatar are expected to rise at a CAGR of 1.9% between now and 2022, and the government’s US$65 billion commitment to infrastructure development has proved to be a major incentive for long term investment by leading hospitality providers,” said Reed Travel Exhibition’s, organiser of ATM 2013, portfolio director Mark Walsh.

Also highlighted at the event was Alpen Capital Investment Bank’s October 2012 GCC Hospitality Industry Report which revealed a ‘slow but steady’ growth in tourism receipts over the previous decade which saw a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 15.9% in the period between 2002 and 2011.

Additionally hotel room capacity in Qatar is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.1% over the next five years, hitting QAR 4 billion ($1.1 billion) by 2016, up from QAR 2 billion ($0.6 billion) in 2011.

Other investment projects will include the continued development of Doha International airport, expected to receive 50 million passengers by 2015 as well as breaking ground on the new QAR 50 million ($14 million) Doha metro network.

“As world-class infrastructure projects gives rise to new economic opportunity, with tourist arrivals expected to reach as a many as 3.7 million by 2022, Qatar will see a transition from a predominantly business-led visitor profile to a stronger business-leisure mix with the football World Cup a milestone marker for the hospitality and tourism industry,” continued Walsh.

Qatar’s most recent hospitality developments include the opening of the St Regis Doha and InterContinental Doha The City, as well as the country’s first Hilton hotel.

A second Four Seasons hotel is currently under development and international economy brands  continue to make an appearance with the debut of Premier Inn later in 2013.

The ATM road show’s latest figures reveal that Qatar’s luxury hotel segment accounts for between 66% and 78% of supply while mid-scale and economy supply is between 22 and 34%.

© 2013 ITP Business Publishing Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Provided by an company

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Tags: qatar, world cup

Photo credit: The Omani national football team pose ahead of their 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifying match against Iraq in Doha. Doha Stadium Plus / Flickr

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