Qatar’s Travel Industry to Grow in 2014
The growth of USD 944 million in 2012 to USD 1.6 billion in 2014, signifies a healthy economy backed by the government’s focus on investing in tourism development, a new research released by Global Travel Market Research firm PhoCusWright has revealed.
Titled Assessing The Online Travel Opportunity: The Middle East, the report includes a comprehensive assessment of the travel and tourism industry in the Middle East, the research particularly focuses on the growth and potential of the online travel segment across markets including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.According to projections by PhoCusWright, the online travel market in Qatar will see a significant boost, rising from USD 944 million in 2012 to an estimated USD 1.6 billion in 2014, owning 9.9% of the Middle Eastern online market share.
The report cited that while internet penetration in Qatar stands at 82%, mobile penetration is among the highest in the world at 182% and SmartPhone penetration is at 75%, online shopping is still considerably low. However, it will grow steadily, driven by government initiatives, retailer investment and, most importantly, a savvy, young population open to trying new technologies.
It was further revealed that gross bookings made by Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) are expected to rise from USD 342 million in 2012 to USD 548 million in 2014.
With Qatar Airways dominating the market and in close competition with regional giants Emirates and Etihad, PhoCusWright anticipates that gross bookings made by the airline sector in Qatar will increase from USD 4.6 billion in 2012 to USD 6.8 in 2014.
Qatar has been identified as having the smallest lodging infrastructure in the region. In fact, gross bookings made in the sector dipped from USD 808 million in 2011 to USD 749 million in 2012. However, it is projected that bookings will increase to USD 878 million in 2014.
Further, with online shopping across the Arab world booming, growing numbers of car renters in Qatar are expected to turn to the Internet for domestic and worldwide bookings and several car rental operators in Qatar have launched new websites along with simplified versions for mobile phone users. As a result, gross bookings made in the car rental space are seeing a steady increase and are expected to touch USD 50.7 million in 2014.