Qatar’s travel market is expected to grow steadily from $5.4 billion in 2012 to $7.7 billion in 2014, signifying a healthy economy backed by government spending on tourism development, a report said.The online travel market  in Qatar will see a significant boost, rising from $944 million in 2012 to an estimated $1.6 billion in 2014, owning 9.9 per cent of the Middle Eastern online market share, added the new research titled Assessing the Online Travel Opportunity: The Middle East released by global travel market research firm PhoCusWright.The report is co-sponsored by Amadeus , a leading technology partner and transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry. A comprehensive assessment of the travel and tourism industry in the Middle East, the research particularly focuses on the growth and potential of the online travel segment across markets including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.Wafiq al Wahidi, general manager, Amadeus Qatar, said: “The figures are indicative of the strong growth potential of the overall travel and tourism sector  in Qatar. Undoubtedly, the sector will see further advancement on the back of ambitious development plans by the government to transform Qatar’s travel industry.“Heavy investments are being allocated to transportation, travel accommodation, infrastructure and other tourism‐related sectors. Further, the Fifa 2022 World Cup is set to boost Qatar’s travel industry, which is channeling billions of dollars into significant infrastructure developments that will support demand before and during event,” he added.The report cited that while internet penetration in Qatar stands at 82 per cent, mobile penetration is among the highest in the world at 182 per cent and smartphone penetration is at 75 per cent, online shopping  is still considerably low. However, it will to grow steadily, driven by government initiatives, retailer investment and, most importantly, a savvy, young population open to trying new technologies.It was further revealed that gross bookings made by Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) are expected to rise from $342 million in 2012 to $548 million in 2014.With Qatar Airways  dominating the market and in close competition with regional giants Emirates and Etihad, PhoCusWright anticipates that gross bookings made by the airline sector in Qatar will increase from $4.6 billion in 2012 to $6.8 in 2014.Qatar has been identified as having the smallest lodging infrastructure in the region. In fact, gross bookings made in the sector dipped from $808 million in 2011 to $749 million in 2012. However, it is projected that bookings will increase to $878 million in 2014, the report said.Further, with online shopping across the Arab world booming, growing numbers of car renters in Qatar are expected to turn to the internet for domestic and worldwide bookings and several car rental operators in Qatar have launched new websites along with simplified versions for mobile phone users.As a result, gross bookings made in the car rental space are seeing a steady increase and are expected to touch $50.7 million in 2014, the PhoCusWright report noted.