Qatar Tourism Authority ( QTA ) released its tourism performance summary report for the first quarter of 2015 (January-March) revealing continued growth in Qatar's burgeoning tourism industry. The report, comparing performance to the same quarter of 2014, shows all key indicators of the tourism sector demonstrated improvement and growth against the same period last year.
Regional and international visitor arrivals totaled 841,025, representing a strong 11% year-on-year increase. In comparison to Q1 2014, arrivals from the Americas grew by 17%, from Europe by 9%, and from Other Asia by 7%. Arrivals from the GCC, Qatar's largest source market, grew markedly in Q1 2015, increasing by 16% compared to the same quarter of 2014.
Arrivals from other Arab and other African nations remained roughly same.
The overall growth from the GCC countries was primarily dominated by an increase in visitor arrivals from Saudi Arabia which grew by 28% in Q1 2015 compared to the same quarter of 2014. The majority of this growth took place in March when visitor arrivals grew by 82% compared to March 2014, with 241,008 Saudi visitors entering Qatar. At the same time, visitor arrivals from Bahrain, Oman, and U.A.E. also grew during the first quarter of 2015, however, by modest rates.
Regarding accommodation sector performance, all segments performed well for the first quarter of 2015, with only 5-star hotels and deluxe apartments reporting occupancy rates slightly below 80%.
Occupancy rates across all hotels reached 82% in Q1 2015, up 8% in comparison to the same period last year. At the same time, average room rates dropped slightly (by 1%), primarily driven by drops in 4-, 2- and 1-Star hotels.
QTA began collecting performance statistics from Hotel Apartments for the first time in January 2015. Q1 hotel apartments' data shows strong performance similar to hotel properties, with an average occupancy rate of 80% across all related establishments.
Qatar hosted many high-quality entertainment events, as well as a growing number of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) activities during the first quarter of 2015, which contributed to the realized growth in the tourism sector.
"The month of March witnessed the largest monthly influx of arrivals in Qatar's history. As tourism is a key piece of diversifying the national economy we look positively on these developments" said Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA . "These impressive results prompt us to build on them by providing the tourism and hospitality sector with full support, so that it can grow and flourish to carry on its ascending trajectory and achieve even better results in the second quarter of 2015." added Al Ibrahim.