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Wed 13 May 2015 09:45 AM

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Qatar to lose 1000s of 2022 World Cup fans to Dubai

Less appealing leisure activities & tourism infrastructure will see thousands prefer to stay in the UAE than Doha during the football extravaganza, top Deloitte analyst says

Qatar to lose 1000s of 2022 World Cup fans to Dubai

Thousands of football fans will choose to stay in Dubai rather than Doha during the Qatar World Cup in 2022, a senior executive at analysis firm Deloitte has predicted.

Qatar will fail to provide the 60,000 hotel rooms football world governing body FIFA says will be needed to meet demand for the sporting extravaganza, Deloitte real estate director Martin Cooper told Cityscape Qatar this week.

Even based on "aggressive growth" of 9-12 percent annually until 2022, the Gulf state, which currently has only about 22,000 keys, would only be able to sustain demand for up to 42,000 rooms.

The shortfall would be partly met by the government's recent announcement that cruise ships would provide 5000-6000 rooms offshore.

Another 1000-2000 may be provided via transportable, temporary accommodation.

But the bulk of the missing rooms would see visitors travel from outside Doha, including from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat, Cooper said.

"A significant proportion... will probably hub with their family in locations like Dubai (which) has the hotel keys already, and then I suspect they'll fly into Doha for the game and stay a night or two before or after," Cooper said.

"I'm not saying they'll all do that but a chunk of the cohort will do that."

Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee Hassan Al Thawadi  has predicted 1 million people will attend the 2022 World Cup, more than three times as many as the 310,000 international visitors that FIFA said travelled to South Africa for the 2010 tournament, but less than the 2006 event in Germany which drew more than 2 million. Nearby cities such as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat also would attract the World Cup visitors because of their more mature tourism infrastructure and leisure activity options.

"The question is, who makes the choice [on where World Cup visitors stay]? It's the visitors and we lose a bit of control there," Cooper said.

"We can influence that decision by the leisure activities and tourism infrastructure.

“We need to figure out how we position the tourism offering here relative to Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat and other GCC states, which are all [a short] flight away.”

The loss of visitors, or their reduced length of stay, could cost Qatar's tourism industry millions of dollars.

The government is targeting 7 million visitors by 2030, up from 2.8 million in 2014.

That compares to Dubai's 12 million in 2014, which is expected to grow to 20 million by 2020, when it is due to host the World Expo.

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Ahmed 5 years ago

A bridge between Qatar and Bahrain will end this issue. No need to get Dubai into it.

George 5 years ago

Plus Dubai is a lot more tolerant to the alcohol surrounding the games.

Like it or not but that's the simple truth and were the money is made.

Joe 5 years ago

Why are you destroying football with this winter nonsence in the first place!?

Mick 5 years ago

Apparently, the causeway is planned but no movement yet. Doesn't Bahrain have even less openness to alcohol?

Russ Sandlin 5 years ago

No Mick, Bahrain is much more open than Qatar. But I do not think the Causeway bridge is going to happen before 2022, or 2030 for that matter.

John 5 years ago

We all pray that the causeway between Qatar and Bahrain will be built. It is going to be built sooner or later anyway. It will have much more impact for the region than any other infrastructure project and long after the Word Cup has finished. All parties will gain and no one will loose.
I do hope that common sense will work, which it does some time.