Abu Dhabi eyes tourism boost from FIFA Club World Cup 2018

The event, which is expected to welcome 30,000 visitors to Abu Dhabi, will also focus on making a return on its investment
Abu Dhabi eyes tourism boost from FIFA Club World Cup 2018
The Real Madrid team celebrate with the Trophy after the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017 Final between Gremio and Real Madrid at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi. (Getty Images)
By Lubna Hamdan
Sun 28 Oct 2018 09:25 AM

The FIFA Club World Cup 2018, which is taking place in the UAE in December, will focus on profitability and tourism, according to Aref Hamed Al Awani, tournament director of the FIFA Club World Cup UAE, local organising committee (LOC).

Speaking to Arabian Business, Al Awani said the committee will focus on making a return on its investment by attracting tourists to Abu Dhabi, where the event in the capital is expected to welcome 30,000 foreign visitors.

“We evaluate two main things: the economic and media impact. The main concern we are looking at is how to get a return from each event we host, but at same time, tourism is very important to us and to the UAE. It’s especially important to Abu Dhabi as it leads to tourism having a larger economic impact for industries such as hotels and restaurants,” he said.

Al Awani declined to share the cost of the event, but said a large amount is covered by the government due to the committee’s collaboration with entities ranging from the airport to the police.

“When it comes to organising an international event like the FIFA Club World Cup or any other similar event, we’re organising beyond the event. We’re coordinating with everybody in the country, including entities ranging from the airport to the police,” he said.

The tournament will see around 800 volunteers per match through 58 matches. So far, volunteering registrations have reached 10,000.

The UAE will also host the Asian Cup in December 2018, where one million visitors are expected to fly in. Moreover, the country's sporting authorities are in talks to possibly host a Spanish top-flight game in Abu Dhabi.

The UAE will make its decision based on the success of the upcoming La Liga game between Girona and Barcelona in the US in January. The match is scheduled to be played at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

“Yes, we are discussing that. We do have a good relationship and an MoU signed with La Liga and we are actively promoting it. Let’s see how they do it this year in the US. We would love the opportunity,” Al Awani said.

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