Doha’s expansion is continuing apace. Tom Otley rounds up new hotel openings in the Qatari capital Doha has always made a good stopover destination, but as Qatar prepares for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the scale of its ambition is coming into sharp focus. The opening of the new Hamad International airport last year will have been welcomed by all travellers passing through Doha. Still, this is only part of an estimated US$40 billion currently being spent on transport projects – including the Doha Metro and a long-distance passenger and freight network – and an eventual spend on transport infrastructure of some US$200 billion before 2022. Joining the Doha Exhibition Centre and Qatar National Convention Centre is the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, opening this November. The 90,000 sqm complex has five pillar-free halls holding up to 3,500 delegates in each. There is also a greater choice of accommodation than ever before. The latest figures available (January to August 2015) show that average hotel occupancy rates have held steady (at 71 per cent) from the same period last year, despite a 32 per cent increase in the number of hotel rooms. Year-to-date visitor arrivals neared two million for the first time, up 6 per cent over the same period in 2014, bringing Qatar closer to achieving its goal of three million visitors by the end of this year. Next year will see the opening of the National Museum of Qatar designed by France’s Jean Nouvel.
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