In 2022 alone, more than 20 hotels, resorts and new tourist destinations in Qatar have been inaugurated, all progressing to the same big event, the 64-game bonanza of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which saw over 1.2 million people coming into the Middle Eastern country.
Over 3.000 rooms have been also put on the market in a last-minute ditch to satisfy demand last month, having a huge positive impact on tourism in Qatar. Due to the compact nature of the competition, with all eight stadiums in a radius of 50 kilometres, demand was the highest in the capital Doha, as the average occupancy was 85% during the tournament, with the metric dropping no lower than 66.3% and peaking at 90.5% on 25 November.
The second-highest occupancy-on-the-books level (90.2%) occurred on 26 November, when neighbouring Saudi Arabia faced Poland, and Argentina matches up with Mexico. In total, Qatar has managed to add around 100,000 rooms to the 31,000 permanent hotel rooms it had leading up to the tournament.
After over 1.2 million people entered the country to take part in a magical edition of the FIFA World Cup, Qatar is now bracing for an excellent tourism season, which will likely spill over in 2023, as the country proved itself worthy of organising a FIFA World Cup edition.
Now, the Middle Eastern country is primed to become a hotbed for tourists, with traditional Arab and Qatari hospitality to experience, as well as a plethora of activities, sites, museums, resorts and desert safari to behold.
Recently, Qatar has opened several attractive spots, including the Doha Winter Wonderland on Al Maha Island and the Fuwairit Kite Beach resort, allowing visitors to indulge in scuba diving, parasailing, snorkelling – and kitesurfing for nine months of the year. Another major attraction is the Qetaifan Island North, which currently hosts a FIFA Fan Festival and has floating hotels, a water park and beach clubs.
“As Qatar invested on numerous infrastructures, it’s going to benefit not just the FIFA [World Cup] but many other businesses, especially the travel industry in the future. I am hopeful that it will positively impact my company too,” said Ali Thabet, General Manager of Milano Travels & Tours, for Peninsula Qatar.
According to locals, the FIFA World Cup will only serve for Qatar to become a true tourist destination, having proven that visitors are welcome, pushing up the numbers of tourists in the future.
Visitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is comprised of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, were the leading source of international tourists, with 33%, but European and American visitors also comprised a big chunk of the percentage during November.
“While other countries that played host to FIFA world cups, accommodated the people with good facilities and infrastructure, Qatar welcomed them with an open heart and even better facilities. Having experienced the warmth of Qatar’s hospitality, visitors from the world over realise what they had been told was far from the truth,” said FAL Travelmart director, AP Manikantan.
Organising the 2022 FIFA World Cup has also helped Qatar to introduce itself in one go to people from all around the globe. Its unique features of geography, hospitality, art, culture and modern infrastructure including the transportation network have been lengthy admired by travellers, who flocked to see the games and enjoy the hospitality in the FIFA Fan Festivals or the Souq Waqif, in the centre of Doha.
According to official estimates, around 6.2 million visitors are expected to enter Qatar by 2028, underlining its key Qatar Vision 2030, which embraces tourism as a key part of the economic development of the country.
In the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report by the World Economic Forum’s “Davos,” which ranks 140 nations, Qatar scored second in the Middle East and North Africa and 51st internationally.