The UK has started the process of leaving the European Union, leaving its travel and hospitality future up in the air.
The pound's loss of value since the Brexit vote in June has helped the country's tourism scene and has made investment in hospitality more appealing. In that light, it is perhaps not surprising that Qatar has publicly emphasized plans to continue investing in the UK.
More than 400 Qatari officials and executives gathered in Britain this week for a two-day investment forum led by Prime Minister Theresa May, as well as bankers from some of the world’s top financial institutions. Top Qatari officials said that long-term commercial opportunities would outweigh political uncertainty.
As such, Qatar's sovereign wealth fund will add £5 billion ($6.3 billion) to its British portfolio in the next three to five years. Beyond real estate opportunities, which can include hospitality, the portfolio will focus on infrastructure, technology and healthcare.
Qatar already has assets valued at more than £35 billion in Britain, including London landmarks such as the Harrods department store, The Savoy hotel and the Shard skyscraper. As such, the country has a stake in keeping the British economy and asset prices strong during and after Brexit.
While these investments “are too small to make a significant difference” to the British economy, according to Ghanem Nuseibeh, founder of London-based consultants Cornerstone Global Associates, they will help reaffirm the country's appeal for more investment in a range of industries.
And while anything can happen in the two years before the UK finalizes its break with the European Union, if the pound remains steady--or falls further--it seems likely that the country's appeal for domestic and inbound tourism will only grow, making hotels an even safer investment.