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How Qatar Plans to House 1.2 Million Fans?

The World Cup that will be held in Qatar in November is considered as far apart from other finals that were held before. Despite the hype and anticipation to the tournament, the organizers might be biting more than they can chew as logistical and accommodation problems arise prior to the event.

The World Cup in Qatar holds many firsts as it will be the first time the event will be held in the Middle East region, the first in a Muslim country, and the first to occur in winter months. 

Accommodation problems

However, we couldn’t deny the fact that Qatar is a small state which is similar to the size of Jamaica, and currently being named as the smallest country that will host the major football event. Its capital city, Doha, will host the million fans from the 32 competing countries that will see the event at the eight stadiums concentrated within the territory. 

On the positive side, this means that fans can travel from one venue to another conveniently, giving fans the opportunity to watch multiple matches within one day. This is different from the previous World Cups in Brazil and Russia where fans have to board domestic flights to travel in another venue.

However, this could also mean that Qatar could possibly have a shortage in accommodations once the event started as the organizers anticipate a surge of at least 1.2 million fans expected to visit the nation over the 28-days window of the competition. 

Capped room rate

The organizers have capped the hotel room rates just for the World Cup 2022, however, the rates for other accommodations have not yet been announced. 

It was announced that the caps for hotel room rates for two- and three-star hotels could be 438 riyals or $120 a night.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy of Qatar’s government guaranteed that there are 130,000 rooms for hotels, 60,000 rooms for villas and apartments, and an additional of 4000 rooms on cruise ships will be available for the attending fans once the event started.

Possible solutions

According to the Supreme Committee, they are planning to use every available alternative to satisfy the accommodation needs of the fans that will attend the Qatar Games.

One recommendation is to build “fan villages” in the desert that will host fans in bedouin-style camps during the World Cup. The idea was still being finalized as how the food and water at desert villages could be handled are still not clear.

Qatar Tourism also established a program called “Host a Fan” where citizens of Doha are encouraged to apply for a license to utilize their homes for rent on sites such as VRBO and AirBnB so that fans could have an extra accommodation.

However, the scheme raised a few eyebrows as the country is a conservative Muslim state and the numbers of how many homes are needed failed to be clarified by the organizers. 

FIFA head Gianni Infantino stated that if the alternatives were proven not plausible, the organizers will be forced to share the hosting duties with Qatar’s neighboring nations. This will give the supporters an opportunity to experience the greater Arab world.

Several cities were recommended to host the possible surge of fans arriving in Qatar such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi in UAE and Muscat in Oman. The organizers will also encourage fans to book accommodations and flights from other Gulf countries.

The bottom line

Ever since FIFA announced Qatar as the host of the 2022 World Cup, a lot of critics have questioned the ability of the nation to host the biggest sporting event in the world. This is only a portion of the problem as the event is also plagued with other issues. Nevertheless, many still stand firm in considering that the Qatar World Cup will be the best one yet.

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