Qatar has added a further 30,000 rooms in a boost to its accommodation ahead of next month’s World Cup.
Qatar will be the first Arab country to host the FIFA World Cup, which kicks off on November 20 with the host nation playing Ecuador in the opening match.
Amid the controversy surrounding Qatar’s host status has been the country’s lack of accommodation for the 1.5 million, or so, visitors expected to attend the tournament from around the world.
Neighbouring states – Dubai, in particular – are likely to benefit from a tourism boost as visitor numbers spill over borders in the search for beds.
Last week, cruise giant MSC Cruises announced that it would be basing its MSC Opera ship in Qatar’s capital Doha to act as a floating hotel during the month-long tournament.
Recent analysis by travel data firm ForwardKeys showed a tenfold increase in tourism bookings for Qatar and the wider gulf coast region solely due to the World Cup.
Qatar and the Middle East is expected to generate around $4bn from World Cup tourism this year.
FIFA has vehemently stated that Qatar is fully prepared as host nation, despite recent reports showing infrastructure construction still ongoing with just a month to go to kick-off time.
“We have always said that Qatar will deliver the best ever edition of the FIFA World Cup. And as you look around the country today, at the state-of-the-art stadiums, the training pitches, the metro, the wider infrastructure, everything is ready and everyone is welcome,” said FIFA President, Gianni Infantino.
“The world is excited. Qatar is ready. The stage is set. Together, we will deliver the best World Cup ever on and off the field,” he said.
The Qatar government said: “After more than a decade of hard work and close collaboration with stakeholders across the country, Qatar stands ready to host a memorable edition of the FIFA World Cup. The compact nature of our tournament means visitors will never be far from the action – always close to a stadium or entertainment activation. We look forward to hosting a tournament that will live long in the memory for fans from across the globe.”
Nearly 3 million tickets for tournament have been sold, with demand coming from the Middle East and traditional football hotspots like Brazil, Germany, England, France, and Argentina. Demand has also been hot in the US and Mexico – which will co-host the World Cup in 4 years’ time along with Canada in a North American alliance.