FIFA World Cup ‘is a sure victory for UAE’
The UAE may not have qualified for this year’s FIFA World Cup, but it will still emerge victorious. Over the course of the past decade, Dubai has played a significant role in increasing sustained traveller footfall within the region and has recently been recognised as one of the most significant tourist hotspots in the world.
With Dubai’s geographical location being optimal for worldwide travel, it stands to gain significantly over the course of the World Cup 2022 season, set to take place in neighbouring Qatar.
The road leading up to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has revealed that increased accommodation prices in Qatar will divert travellers towards Dubai and other Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia and Oman. Foreseeing this, budget airlines like Flydubai are expected to run at least 30 return flights a day to Doha, which is only an hour away. Additionally, some other airline companies have integrated an all-encompassing service for customer travelling for the World Cup, with as much as 160 daily airlift shuttles, accommodation services and lounge access. It’s bound to entice any person commuting for the tournament.
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is a propellant for all verticals and industries within geographical distance of the tournament, with the hospitality and retail sector expected to be the biggest gainers
The UAE, known for staying ahead of the curve, has aptly offered multiple-entry visas for a nominal fee of Dh100 ($27) to those with tickets to the World Cup matches. The Dubai Sports Council has estimated a million fans to arrive in the city by the time the tournament kicks off.
Dubai’s relatively relaxed social standards could further appeal to fans looking to indulge in more than just football. Dubai is gearing up with fan zones, announced at parks, beaches and in the financial centre, as hotels follow suit. The packages are expected to include shuttle flights and transport to the airport and across fan zones.
Decision-makers across the hospitality sector have re-strategized their existing business models to accommodate the expected heavy influx of travellers and tourists during this period. At the same time all hotel apartments are expected to fill at least 40 to 50 per cent of their occupancy during the league matches and that number is set to increase as the tournament leads into to the knockout stages and round of 16.
Dubai in itself remains a prominent tourist hub with its own demand. Since the Covid-19 pandemic we have seen travel to Dubai has returned to normal and at times, over the course of 2022, exceeded pre-pandemic levels. This November the city expects to increase year-on-year footfall as unconstrained travel has returned.
To ease the load placed on the Qatari capital, neighbouring countries besides the UAE like Saudi Arabia and Oman are also actively participating in attractive accommodation offers for fans.
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is a propellant for all verticals and industries within geographical distance of the tournament, with the hospitality and retail sector expected to be the biggest gainers. With an estimate of one million fans travelling for the tournament, governments and local authorities are keen to cooperate to better manage the expected footfall, bolstering intra-region trade, support and geo-lateral relations.
* Anthony Wright is Area General Manager for Suha Hospitality