Express press service
DOHA: Ever since Qatar won the bid rights to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup twelve years ago, the country has been sparing no effort to make it a great success. It is the first time that an Arab country will host the quadrennial event after battling stiff competition from countries like the United States, Australia, among others to win the bid.
The country, which will host the quadrennial competition from November 21 across eight venues, is gearing up for the event. A carnival atmosphere can be expected during the fan festivals, which will also include music concerts and DJ parties, among others. More than 280 musical artists are expected to create an exciting atmosphere during the four weeks of competition.
As the FIFA World Cup is one of the most popular events in the world, there has been a good demand for tickets from all over the world. Interestingly, there has also been huge interest from India. One of the reasons could also be the closer proximity between the two countries. The distance between India and Qatar is 2885 km, but the last three CMs have gone quite far – Russia (almost 5000 km), Brazil (14088 km) and South Africa (8250 km).
“Ticket sales in India have been very strong. India may not qualify but Indians seem to love football. If you look at previous (World Cups) they have been held in places far (from India) like Rio. But Qatar is not far India’s economy has come a long way in the last 20 years. Everyone now watches football in India, and everyone world has a favorite team,” said Berthold Trenkel, COO of Qatar Tourism.
“For the World Cup, visitors from all countries will need visas. But it’s related to the football ticket and the hotel reservation. If you have those two, the visa will be automatically processed.”
Around 1.5 million tourists are expected to cross borders into Qatar for the event, and there are various plans to ensure fans get the best taste of Qatari culture as well. In fact, the number of tourists is expected to increase further, according to the teams sinking into the competition.
“A lot (additional influx of tourists) depends on which country will move on to the next round. If, for example, Saudi Arabia, you can imagine that many of its inhabitants come to Qatar. If a distant country, with fewer flights , advance, then we’ll have fewer numbers. You’ll always have a crazy last-minute scramble to see the games,” Trenkel said.
The author was in Doha at the invitation of Qatar Tourism