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8 Feb 2022

Qatar World Cup to boost Tourism of Gulf Nations; Expecting 1.5 Million Visitors

The Index Today

About 1.5 million visitors are expected for this world’s largest sporting event, due to kick-off on November 21. Gulf nations are preparing for an increase in their tourism as huge numbers of football fans plan already planning their trips to watch the Qatar World Cup this November. Qatar’s hosting of the month-long tournament will lead to one of the busiest winter tourism seasons yet, particularly for Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain.

According to the reports, Doha has also spent billions on hotel accommodation and infrastructure, a significant shortfall remains.

There’s only 130,000 or so rooms provided by hotels, cruise liners anchored off Doha and desert camp sites, so they said that the other alternative options for fans will be the UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia; flight tickets have already surged in price.

David Garner, Mena region commercial vice president of Minor Hotels, which owns the Anantara and Avani brands said, “The UAE as a global hub will have every opportunity to capitalize on strong visitor numbers who wish to use the emirates as their base for the tournament games.”

“Demand will be generated by the 32 countries who have qualified for the World Cup but also from many other global fans,” he added.

Travellers from most GCC nations can reach Qatar’s Hamad International Airport in about an hour or less.

Representatives from Qatar Airways, Dnata Travel, Etihad, Hilton and Bahrain's tourism authority told The National they have witnessed a surge in interest since the first phase of tickets already went on sale in January.

Stuart Birkwood, general manager of Radisson Red Dubai in Silicon Oasis said “There’s an expectation that many football fans heading to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will use Dubai either as a staging post or as a pre or post visit option due to Dubai’s excellent visitor options and attractions.”

“With the more varied visitor activities available to football fans here in Dubai compared to Qatar we have heard that many fans will use Dubai as a base between, before or even after games they’ll attend in Qatar.”

The final draw for the group stages of the World Cup is not due until April.

©Photo: AP

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