The Business End
For its relatively small size and an oft-described ‘disproportionate’ influence on the world, Qatar’s rise to prominence has unashamedly emanated from its discovery of oil in the 1940s. Subsequently transforming the state’s economy, its forthright drive for economic perfection is also epitomised by its zero income tax and almost nonexistent unemployment rate; the population largely geared towards their contribution to the economy’s ongoing prevalence.
Compounding this influence is an extraordinarily high reliance on migrant workers to complete the national workforce, with 86 percent of the population comprised of this segment, and 94 percent of the workforce. Whether or not this is the most sustainable or idealistic way to become the fourth highest GDP per capita in the world is up for debate, but one fallout that is undoubted is the need for Qatar to formulate a societal background conducive for attracting business travellers.
Its Qatar Investment Authority - the country’s sovereign wealth fund - has an international investment arm to compound its global influence in the form of Qatar Holding; and since 2009 it has involved itself in some of the biggest enterprises and projects the world over to affirm its status. Siemens, Harrods, The Shard, Barclays Bank, Heathrow Airport, Paris Saint-Germain FC, Shell, Bank of America, Agricultural Bank of China, Blackberry and Santander Brasil have all experienced Qatari involvement, emphasising the international influence that the country has on a multi-sector level.
Naturally, as a consequence and knock-on effect of the success that has been achieved and the attention still to come, one industry to be directly affected has been the hospitality domain. Traditionally quite expensive already, hotel prices are still on the rise; with its usual clientele stemming from aforementioned conglomerates usually able to foot the bill. For the average business traveller, this rule of affordability should still apply, but unlike other business or tourism hotspots, there is a lack of alternatives in regards to budget accommodation or hostels.