Qatar tourism squeezed

The National - News - Business - - Inside Track -

The sev­er­ing of diplo­matic and trade ties with Qatar by the UAE, Saudi Ara­bia, Bahrain and Egypt are squeez­ing the coun­try’s tourism sec­tor and Doha’s ho­tels, which would nor­mally be full in the Eid Al Fitr hol­i­day, have had steep falls in their oc­cu­pancy rates.

A sur­vey of five ma­jor ho­tels found oc­cu­pancy was about 57 per cent at the start of Eid.

“We’re usu­ally packed with Saudis and Bahrai­nis but not this year,” a staff mem­ber at a five-star ho­tel said.

The avi­a­tion an­a­lyst Will Hor­ton es­ti­mated Ha­mad In­ter­na­tional Air­port, one of the Mid­dle East’s busiest, would han­dle 76 per cent as many flights in early July com­pared with last year, a loss of about 27,000 pas­sen­gers a day.

“Doha in early July, as­sum­ing the re­stric­tions re­main, will have less ca­pac­ity than a year ago – a con­fronting fig­ure for a re­gion where ev­ery month sets year-on-year records,” said Mr Hor­ton, se­nior an­a­lyst at Australia’s CAPA Cen­ter for Avi­a­tion.

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