According to Emad Jaber, managing partner of architecture and engineering firm La Casa, the hospitality market in Qatar is 10 years junior to Dubai’s.
“Qatar is very close to the Dubai model,” he says, “but it’s just not as developed. When it comes to hospitality, Dubai is a hub and Qatar is trying to be that. I can say there is a gap of maybe 10 years between the two markets.”
A leading factor of the difference is the varying occupancy rates between the two popular Arabian Gulf destinations. As Jaber points out, the average occupancy rate in Qatar is 61 percent, while in Dubai it’s 83.
With offices in both Dubai and Qatar, La Casa is dedicated to quality hospitality work, which makes up nearly 60% of the firm’s workload. Its hospitality projects are split between the two, while Saudi developments are beginning to emerge.
“About 70 percent of our turnover comes from Dubai, with 20 percent from Qatar and 10 percent from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” he adds.
At the moment, Saudi is seeing a rise of hospitality projects outside of its main tourist destinations — Mecca and Madina — with regions like Al Khobar now attracting developers and architects. According to the 2017 Saudi Arabia Hotel Construction Overview report, the eastern city is the country’s third leading area for hotel development.