Qatar’s economy continues to grow at an unprecedented rate bringing with it development opportunities for the country’s service industry.
With strong natural gas exports, a growing real estate market and massive investments in major tourism infrastructure projects, the World Bank predicts that the Qatari economy will grow by up to 8.2 per cent this year.
Qatar is predicted to become a leader in the gas-to-liquids industry by 2010. A boom is also expected in real estate as foreigners are now given the right to buy freehold properties within the Pearl of The Gulf - a US $2.5 billion man-made island off the coast of Doha. Phase one of the project will open by 2006 and, on completion in 2009, the complex will house up to 30,000 people.
This massive growth is already having a positive impact on the country’s service industry, according to Syed Shahzad Ali, operations manager of Al Mana Rent A Car, the Hertz International franchisee in Qatar, which registered a 15 per cent increase in revenue in 2003 compared to the previous year. Projections for 2004 are equally encouraging.
“For Hertz Qatar the growing gas and real estate markets translate into more business travellers renting vehicles from us, while the billions of dollars now going into tourism infrastructure are expected to boost the leisure part of our business,” he said.
Part of the developing tourism infrastructure is the construction of the first phase of the new US$2 billion Doha International Airport which promises a state-of-the-art facility capable of handling more than 50 million passengers a year.
A number of new hotels and resorts are currently being built in Qatar, which is host to the 2006 Asian Games. Among the new properties is the Four Seasons Doha, due to open this December, while another three hotels will form part of the Pearl of The Gulf development. These new properties join an impressive line-up of five-star hotels already present in the country, including the Sheraton, InterContinental, Marriott and Ritz-Carlton.
“With so many new developments in many different areas, the country’s service providers have an ideal opportunity to expand their operations and that naturally includes the car rental industry,” explained Ali.
As part of this expansion Hertz Qatar has put in place a five-year plan to double the size of its fleet adding a variety of new small, medium and luxury vehicles as well as 4x4s to cater for a wide range of tastes and budgets.
The plan also includes the opening of two new Hertz Qatar branches in addition to the existing locations on the Airport Road, Doha and Qatar General Post on the Corniche Road area at Doha International Airport. While full details have yet to be announced, one of the new locations will be within a five-star hotel complex while the other will be in an industrial area, giving customers an even greater choice of convenient locations. (menareport.com)
© 2004 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )