Doha a no-go city for December

Travel agents and operators will be hard pressed to find bed nights in Doha this month as all hotels are fully booked due to the Asian Games, which runs until December 15.

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By  Gemma Greenwood Published  December 5, 2006

Travel agents and operators will be hard pressed to find bed nights in Doha this month as all hotels are fully booked due to the Asian Games, which runs until December 15. All 2800 rooms across the 14 existing properties in the Qatari capital have been booked out by the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee (DAGOC) until December 17, and to make matters worse, four hotels that were due to open their doors before the event, will not come online until early next year. But the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has assured the trade that contingency plans are in place should accommodation run short during the games period. “We don’t have many hotel rooms, it is true, but all the preparations for the athletes, the delegations, and the overall games have been made,” said Daniela Grendenne, director of marketing and communications. “Everything has been provided for. It’s the usual speculation; people ask where everyone will stay, but beds come online. Qatar has been preparing for this for many years.” But Grendenne’s optimism is overshadowed by the fact that the Sharq Village & Spa, operated by The Ritz-Carlton Company, Bavaria Suites, the Millennium hotel and industry newcommer, La Cigale Hotel, a joint venture between Lebanese catering company La Cigale and private Qatari investors, have delayed their openings until after the games. The four properties combined would have flushed the market with more than 3000 extra rooms, which are much needed considering that Doha expects to receive an estimated 40,000 visitors during the games period. But Grendenne noted that the Athlete’s Village has already been extended from 10,000 to 12,000 beds and that three cruise ships with capacity for 2500 passengers had docked in Doha’s port last month to provide beds for visitors who can’t find a hotel. “We have also made provisions for at least 2200 press,” she added.

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