Skift Travel News Blog

Short stories and posts about the daily news happenings around the travel industry.

Hotels

Qatar’s World Cup to Benefit Hyatt and Accor Most: Analyst

3 months ago

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 starts in five days, and Qatar is struggling to have enough lodging to house an expected 1.2 million football fans.

Qatar has only about 31,000 hotel rooms, according to benchmarking service STR, though Qatar Tourism says it has more hotels opening this month in time for the event — boosting its room count.

Many fans have looked beyond traditional hotels, booking more than 90,000 hotel rooms, tents, apartments, and temporary “portacabins” during the peak days of what’s called the biggest sporting event on Earth, Reuters reported. Three cruise ships from MSC Cruises turned into floating hotels are also welcoming visitors.

So which hotel companies stand to gain the most? Richard Clarke, the senior analyst for global catering, global hotels, and leisure at Bernstein Research, in a report on Monday, said Hyatt and Accor have the best on-the-ground positioning to take the most advantage of the top prices being charged during the event:

The Qatar World Cup has thrown up some interesting innovations for lodging, including the sustainable solution of using existing residential units rather than building new hotels, employing Accor as a manager of those residential properties to provide housekeeping and front desk services and the creation a dedicated booking platform rather than using existing OTAs [online travel agencies].

The upside for the World Cup for the hotel groups is likely 1-2 percent in the fourth quarter from the high price points (1000 percent mark ups) of their rooms during the event with Hyatt having the highest % of its estate in Qatar, but Accor likely benefits the most due to its unique deal.

The online travel agencies will likely benefit far less because of the existence of a dedicated booking agent, which has more choice for the event than the global platforms.

Richard Clarke, the senior analyst from global catering, global hotels and leisure at Bernstein Research.
Source: Global Hotels & OTAs: Who will win the World Cup? by Richard Clarke and team at Bernstein Research.

Expect some hotels in the capital city of Doha to charge entrance fees for anyone visiting its bars and lounges to watch World Cup matches, adding to hotel revenues.

Tourism

Qatar Will Allow Ticketless Fans to Enter the Country From December 2

3 months ago

Qatar will allow visitors without football World Cup tickets to enter the country from December 2 after the group stage matches end.

However, even as a match ticket will no longer be mandatory for inbound arrivals to Qatar, visitors will still need to furnish a Hayya Card before traveling, organizers said.

The Hayya Card is an ID that serves as an entry permit to Qatar and also provides stadium access along with the match tickets.

Earlier, Qatar had made Hayya Card mandatory for those wanting to enter Qatar from November 1. 

As it gets set to host the most geographically-compact football World Cup from November 20, Qatar has been easing entry restrictions into the country.

Last month, Qatar announced that it would drop the requirement of a pre-arrival negative polymerase chain reaction test from November 1.

Expecting congested roads during the World Cup, officials had earlier warned that managing four soccer games a day in Doha will be a challenge.

Tourism

Qatar Drops Pre-Arrival Covid Test Requirement Right in Time for World Cup

3 months ago

Qatar will be dropping its requirement of a pre-arrival negative polymerase chain reaction test from November 1, just in time for the FIFA World Cup that kicks off from November 20.

Qatari citizens and residents coming into the country will also not be required to undergo a rapid antigen or polymerase chain reaction test within 24 hours of arrival.

Visitors entering Qatar from November 1 onwards would also not be required to pre-register on the Ehteraz health application. Registration on the Ehteraz app would only be needed to enter healthcare facilities.

The Ministry of Public Health made the announcement on Wednesday, in light of the continuing decline in the number of Covid-19 cases throughout the world and in Qatar. 

Last month, the government had said in a statement that Covid vaccination would not be mandatory football fans coming in to the country for the World Cup.

From this month onwards, masks are also not mandatory while travelling on public transport in Qatar and it was announced that masks would be optional at the eight World Cup stadiums.

However, all visitors would need a Hayya Card to enter Qatar from November 1. The Hayya Card is a mandatory document given to anyone attending the World Cup that serves as an entry permit to the Qatar and also provides stadium access along with the match tickets.

Tourism

World Cup Boosts Flight Bookings to Qatar and Gulf Nations

4 months ago

Despite the requirement to present a negative Covid-19 test to enter Qatar, flight bookings to the country for travel during FIFA World Cup — between November 14 and December 24 — have witnessed a massive boom, according to ForwardKeys’ data based on issued flight tickets, including day trips.

The flight bookings to Qatar from countries, including United Arab Emirates (UAE), Spain, Japan France and the U.S., are currently ten times the volume of pre-pandemic levels, according to data analytics firm ForwardKeys. 

The strongest-performing market during the World Cup period is United Arab Emirates, where bookings are currently ahead 103 times compared to 2016. The benchmark period for United Arab Emirates is 2016 as the Qatar diplomatic crisis stopped direct flights between Qatar and the UAE between 2017 and 2021.

Bookings from Mexico have gone up 79 times compared to 2019, while bookings from Argentina are up 77 times. The bookings from Spain and Japan have gone up 53 times and 46 times respectively.

The shortage of accommodation in Qatar and the availability of shuttle flights from cities in the United Arab Emirates will allow many people to stay in the UAE and fly over for on match days. The flight time between Dubai and Doha is a little over 60 minutes.

The UAE’s hospitality market is set to expand by 25 percent by 2030, with a further 48,000 rooms adding to the nation’s extensive 200,000 key portfolio, global consultancy firm Knight Frank noted in Sepetember.

Dubai is set to account for the lion’s share of this total, with 76 percent of all new rooms coming to the emirate, which already has over 130,000 rooms, Knight Frank fother observed.

Currently, day trips account for 4 percent of all arrivals in Qatar during the World Cup, 85 percent of which originate in the UAE.

The World Cup is set to benefit the whole Gulf region, as flight bookings to countries in the region during the competition are currently 16 percent ahead compared to 2019, and, for the initial stages of the tournament 61 percent ahead.

Many World Cup visitors would also be travelling to other destinations in the region as the number of visitors staying at least two nights in Qatar and going on to stay at least two more nights in another Gulf country is sixteen times greater than it was before the pandemic.

Set to capture 65 percent onward visits, Dubai is the biggest beneficiary of this trend by far, followed by Abu Dhabi with 14 percent and Jeddah would be capturing 8 percent of these visits.

U.S. travelers make up 26 percent of the “regional tourists,” followed by travelers from Canada at 10 percent and British tourists at 9 percent. Around 32 percent of travelers coming in to Dubai would be from the U.S.

The FIFA World Cup is one of the most attractive drivers of travel there is, so much so, that other destinations in the Gulf will benefit, not just the host nation, Qatar.

In tourism promotion terms, the World Cup will throw a media spotlight on Qatar and help it become a more established destination, and not just a major hub for intercontinental air traffic.

“Normally, just 3 percent of travel to Doha is destined to stay in the country; and 97 percent comprises onward connections. However, during the World Cup almost 27 percent has Qatar as the ultimate destination,” said Olivier Ponti, VP Insights of ForwardKeys.

Ponti said that the UAE would also benefit substantially from the tournament because it has much more hotel accommodation than Qatar, and two global hub airports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Tourism

UAE Boosts Tourism Returns to $5 Billion in First Half of 2022

5 months ago

The tourism revenue of the United Arab Emirates surpassed $5 billion in the first half of this year, compared to $3 billion in the same period last year. The number of hotel guests that the country received rose to 12 million — registering a 42 percent year-on-year growth. 

The country expects a stronger performance this winter as scores of football fans would be flocking the region to catch the Federation Internationale de Football Association World Cup being hosted in neighbouring Qatar.

Since Qatar, with its limited accommodation facilities, would be hosting the most geographically-compact world cup in the history of the tournament, the economic impact of the event would also extend to other countries in the Gulf Coooperation Council.

Gulf carriers would also be operating shuttle flights to ferry football fans from neighbouring countries to Doha, the venue for the World Cup between November 21 and December 18.

Dubai airport also reported that it had handled 27.8 million passengers in the first half of this year, up more than 160 percent from the same period last year.

Based on the results of the first half of the year, the airport has readjusted its annual forecast for this year from 58.3 million passengers to 62.4 million.

Over 7 million international visitors visited Dubai during the first half of 2022, registering a 183 percent year-on-year increase, according to Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism. In 2021, Dubai received a total of 7.28 million international visitors.

The average hotel occupancy rate in Dubai in the first half of 2022 was 74 percent, 12 percent higher than the rate in the same period last year, which stood at 62 percent.

During the first half of 2022, the average daily rate of hotels in Dubai was $154 while the occupied room nights reached 18.47 million and revenue per available room rose to $147. With this, Dubai has emerged third in the world in terms of revenue per available room, after Paris and New York. 

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