Keeping the World Cup 2022 Affordable
Economies across the world are suffering due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Recession is affecting some countries already and will affect others in the near future. Nations, governments and individuals are facing financial worries as a result. With predicted economic difficulties on the horizon, will people be able to afford to go to Qatar for the World Cup in 2022?
Everyone is hopeful that by 2022 the pandemic will be under control and there will be, at least in part, a resumption of normal life and travel. Hopes are high that the World Cup tournament will, post-COVID, bring people together and be the event with which to celebrate a global recovery. In Qatar, the Supreme Committee (responsible for delivering the 2022 competition) are pressing ahead with their plans and are fully committed to their aim of making the games accessible and affordable for all. From the moment Qatar entered its bid to host the World Cup, it has promised an affordable tournament in terms of flights and accommodation. And, in light of the COVID situation, the country is even more determined to enable all fans to have the option of travelling to Qatar to support their teams.
Keeping Costs Down
Qatar’s original plans for the competition took into account that the country would inherently be an affordable destination because:
- All the 2022 World Cup stadiums are within a radius of fewer than 60 km, so travel to and between stadiums will be minimal. There will certainly be no need for expensive internal flights. In a World Cup first, fans will be able to attend more than one match per day because the stadiums are so close to one another.
- Being a small country, travel to the country’s numerous attractions will also be minimal – so there will be very little additional travel expenses.
- The new automated Doha Metro system (including shuttle buses, Metro express and trams) will provide fast, inexpensive travel (tickets start at around 2 QAR – approximately £0.40 or $0.50 for a single journey) to the stadiums, hotel areas, the airport and many of the country’s attractions.
- Accommodation in Qatar is generally all-inclusive of inhouse activities and entertainment - pools, beaches, kids clubs, evening events, etc. So, there will be a good range of things to do at no additional cost.
- Qatar also offers a variety of accommodation options - from luxury, boutique and first-class to standard and economy options; in hotels, resorts, fan villages, apartments, guest houses and hostels; offering single, double, triple and family-sized rooms. There will even be a host of quirky options to choose from, including floating hotels, cruise liners and desert camps. There will be something to suit all pockets.
- Eating out in Doha is a national pastime, and there will be something to suit every taste and pocket. Breakfast, lunch, brunch, high tea, dinner and sweets, with anything from snacks to seven-course meals, gourmet food and fine dining to take-aways, are served in cafes and restaurants, hotels and malls, in the streets and the huddled alleyways of souqs, on promenades, beach fronts and in parks. And, while regional food is a must to try when in Qatar, foods from countries as different as America to Nepal are also available. The choice of eateries in Doha is endless, and prices can be as little or as much as personal budgets allow.
- There is an inordinate amount of free things to do in Qatar too. The city offers fans a host of activities - visiting traditional souqs and cultural villages, awe-inspiring mosques, and a multitude of malls; walking along seafront promenades and stunning marinas, relaxing on public beaches and in beautiful parks and cycling on the many bicycle tracks in the parks and city streets; following Doha’s street art trail through parks, souqs, courtyards and along the city’s Corniche. On the edges of the city and further afield visitors can explore for free Qatar’s lengthy coastline with beaches, mangrove forests, coves and islets, as well as a multitude of national parks where it is possible to catch glimpses of wild camels and oryx. Then there are the desert dunes, an inland sea, heritage sites of forts, abandoned fishing villages and neolithic petroglyphs to see, and activities such as camping, dune bashing, dune boarding and camel racing will all offer free or low-cost ways to keep visitors entertained. In such a small country visitors will find plenty to do.
The organising authorities remain confident that, despite the pandemic and its knock-on effects, their ongoing efforts will bring the World Cup to everyone. They are continuously investigating and planning for the tournament in the light of the rapidly changing COVID situation. And, they are working with other countries that have faced similar problems to come up with practical solutions. At the highest levels there is an understanding that, while the industry, service providers and supply chains delivering the World Cup need to benefit economically from the world’s biggest sporting event, the competition would be nothing without its fans. To that end, organisers have promised to ensure that their original plans still apply - the World Cup in 2022 will be affordable in terms of flights, accommodation and internal travel. Indeed, Qatar recently hosted a successful FIFA Club World Cup tournament that proved the effectiveness of the organisation, its infrastructure and its stadiums. And, somewhat more significantly in recent times, the affordability of such sporting events - all team’s fans were able to come to Qatar to show their support.
And, in recent times, the country has had plenty of experience tackling unusual situations successfully:
- The blockade imposed upon the country by its neighbours threw up a myriad of issues in terms of travel, employment, imports, exports, etc. However, the government prevailed. They successfully continued to grow Qatar’s tourist industry, attract foreign investment, build fruitful relationships with other countries, and implement and deliver infrastructure projects for the World Cup.
- Qatar recently hosted the AFC Champions League 2020 (west region) during the pandemic. The games were managed under strict safety measures to deal with the ongoing COVID crisis and ensure the safety of everyone involved. The success of the tournament demonstrated the country’s ability to manage events during a crisis effectively.
Qatar’s commitment to 2022 and the experiences in the lead up to the games will surely help to ensure the goals set for the tournament are achieved, despite the issues COVID-19 has thrown up.
Getting Ahead of the Game
With such a positive outlook, perhaps now is an excellent time to start planning your visit. Booking in advance can allow you to take advantage of packages with fixed prices, guarantees and COVID-proof insurance. And, paying in instalments enables the spread of any costs over the next two years. Monitoring the following websites can also give you a head start when it comes to travel, accommodation and, in time, tickets:
- The Qatar Airways website for details of costs and package deals;
- Travel sites for further information on costs and package deals;
- Ticket sites for details on costs and package deals;
- Official sites, such as the FIFA World Cup website pages and the Supreme Committee World Cup website, Qatar2022, for up to date tournament information.
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