The supply of hotel keys, coupled with serviced apartments is expected to increase to 45,000 rooms by the end of the third quarter of 2022, in time for the FIFA World Cup, Cushman and Wakefield Qatar (CWQ) has said in a report released on Tuesday.
According to the Qatar Q4 Real Estate Market Review report, the existing supply of hotel keys, coupled with serviced apartments now provide 38,674 rooms.
The overall development pipeline is expected to see the hotel supply in Qatar increase to more than 50,000 hotel keys within the next five years, the report said.
“The number of hotel keys in Qatar approached 30,000 in the fourth quarter of 2021. The Steigenberger Hotel and Zulal Wellness Resort have been two notable arrivals to the market in recent months. The latest official figures from National Tourism Council indicate that there were 7,523 hotel apartments In December 2021, an 11 percent year on year increase in this type of accommodation,” it said.
With significant new supply expected in 2022, the report said, Hyatt Plaza has announced the upcoming opening of the Andaz brand in West Bay in 2022. Other prominent brands that will open in Qatar include The Waldorf Astoria (in both West Bay and Lusail), The Chedi at Katara, The Plaza in central Doha, and Rixos at Qetaifan Islands. We understand that 15 hotels are currently under construction in Lusail.
In October, the report said, it was confirmed that Accor hotel group have signed an agreement to manage up to 60,000 rooms in private residences, which will be used as supplement hotel accommodation for tourists visiting Qatar for the FIFA World Cup.
While the performance of the hotel sector has been impacted severely throughout the pandemic due to a collapse in global tourism, business travel, exhibitions, conferences, and social functions, the report said that the restoration of ties with Saudi Arabia and UAE resulted in both countries featuring in Qatar’s top 10 source markets for tourism.
Once COVID-19 restrictions ease, the report said, “We expect Saudi Arabia to restore its position as Qatar’s main source of international visitors.”
Hotel performance metrics over the past 21 months have been skewed by the designation of approximately 60 hotels as quarantine facilities. Cushman and Wakefield understand that more than 30 percent of hotel keys were utilized as quarantine facilities at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak.
In the most recent Tourism Performance Summary by the National Tourism Council, occupancy rates in ‘available’ hotel rooms in Qatar increased from 54 percent to 62 percent year on year between January and September. Average Daily rates over the same period increased by 13 percent reflecting an annual increase in Revenue Per Available Room of 29 percent, the report said.
About the residential sector, the report said that residential rents in Qatar have been increasing in recent months, largely due to the demand being generated in advance of the FIFA World Cup in November and December this year.
“The number of residential sales in Qatar increased by 8.7 percent year on year to the end of November, as investors took advantage of new freehold ownership laws. Sales activity remained healthy in the fourth quarter of 2021,” it said.
By the end of 2021, Cushman and Wakefield estimates that the number of apartments in Qatar had increased to 230,000, while the number of villas reached approximately 130,000.
“We expect the supply of housing in Qatar to accelerate this year with the completion of major projects ahead of the FIFA World Cup in November. A number of new developments will be reserved by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) ahead of the World Cup and held on Eskan leases for up to five years to avoid a sharp increase in available supply in January 2023,” it said.
The report said that strong growth was reported in retail spending in the fourth quarter of 2021 as confidence returned in the sector.
There was strong growth in retail performance in many of Qatar’s major malls in the fourth quarter of 2021. It has been reported to Cushman and Wakefield that retail spending in these developments in December, prior to the outbreak of Omicron, was up by between 10 percent and 20 percent in the same month in 2019. Retail malls have also indicated there has been a recovery in supply chains for retail stock.
“Qatar’s supply of organised indoor retail accommodation exceeded 1.5 million sq m of gross leasable area in 2021. The most recent retail destinations include Abu Sidra Mall and The Galleria, both of which opened partially but are yet to reach full capacity. The current supply of organised retail space in Qatar represents an increase of more than 100 percent in six years,” the report said.
Highlighting marked increase in office supply in 2021, the report said, “Office supply in Qatar has increased significantly in recent months, with the opening of Qatar Energy’s new headquarters at Abdullah Bin Hamad Al Attiyah District and Lusail’s Commercial Boulevard adding more than 300,000 sq m of space between the two developments.”
The gross leasable area of office accommodation in Qatar has now reached approximately 5.3 million sq m. Cushman and Wakefield estimate that more than 1.4 million sq m of office space is currently available to lease.
“The completion of office buildings in Energy City and Commercial Boulevard has resulted in leasable office supply in Lusail surpassing 800,000 sq m in the fourth quarter of 2021. We estimate that approximately 55 percent of this space is either occupied or reserved. A number of agreements are in place with public bodies and financial institutions, which will boost occupancy rates in Lusail in 2022,” the report said.