Qatar’s World Cup overspill a money-spinner for Dubai


The Gulf emirate of Dubai is braced for an inflow of soccer followers through the World Cup in Qatar. [Photo/Agencies]

DUBAI — The United Arab Emirates didn’t qualify for the Qatar World Cup however it is going to be a winner anyway if an overspill of followers floods its accommodations, eating places and planes.

With little funding, the UAE, and specifically Dubai, stands to achieve if, as anticipated, supporters decide to remain within the tourism hotspot as an alternative of tiny Gulf neighbor Qatar through the November-December match.

Excessive lodging costs within the Qatari capital Doha and Dubai”s extra permissive setting — together with a wider availability of alcohol — might entice followers, specialists say.

Finances airline flydubai will run at the least 30 return flights a day to Doha, simply an hour away, a part of a each day airlift of 160 shuttle providers from cities within the resource-rich Gulf.

Dubai “has comparatively relaxed social requirements with respect to sure features of tradition, akin to alcohol consumption and clothes codes”, mentioned James Swanston, a Center East and North Africa economist at Capital Economics.

Any financial windfall, and mirrored glory from the primary World Cup on Arab soil, will come lower than two years after Doha and the UAE have been at loggerheads over a regional blockade that remoted Qatar from its neighbors.

Dubai Sports activities Council has estimated about 1,000,000 World Cup followers might arrive within the metropolis. On condition that Qatar is anticipating an identical quantity, the prediction could also be bold.

Nonetheless, Dubai is gearing up with fan zones introduced at parks, seashores and within the monetary heart, whereas accommodations are providing particular packages.

Such offers embrace shuttle flights and transport to the airport and fan zones.

The UAE can also be providing multiple-entry visas on the nominal payment of 100 dirhams ($27) to folks with tickets for World Cup matches.

Day-trippers

Visiting followers will not be Dubai’s solely World Cup commuters. Firas Yassin, a French-Lebanese Dubai resident, booked a day-trip to see France’s opening sport after being “shocked” by the value of Doha resort rooms.

Yassin will fly in along with his spouse 5 hours earlier than the conflict with Denmark on Nov 26, and depart just a few hours after the ultimate whistle having realized a lifelong dream to see Les Bleus play dwell.

“I will go to town, watch the match after which return to my place in Dubai,” the 34-year-old instructed AFP.

Expat Sport, which is licensed by FIFA to promote match hospitality packages for the video games in Doha, famous that “comfort” was a key consider folks selecting to remain in Dubai.

It cited “the common shuttle flights working between the 2 cities and it solely being an hour flight”.

One Dubai resort, on the man-made, frond-shaped Palm island, can be given over totally to soccer followers.

“We’ve got had a surge of bookings from Mexico, UK, Europe and India,” Expat Sport mentioned. “Room nights are going quick and we anticipate to be absolutely booked at this charge.”

The UAE’s resort occupancy this yr is already greater than 40 % greater than pandemic-hit 2019, with a “sturdy tourism efficiency” anticipated this winter, Dubai emir and UAE vice-president Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum mentioned late final month.

As of Could, Dubai had 769 accommodations with greater than 140,000 rooms, a big rise from early 2019, in keeping with official figures.

Shuttle flights will even run from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Oman to alleviate strain on lodging in Doha, a metropolis of two.4 million.

However “relative to different Gulf states, Dubai does maintain a bonus with its standing as a significant vacationer vacation spot already”, Swanston mentioned.

AFP



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