(MENAFN- The Peninsula) |
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 has spurred an uptick in hotel occupancy in the Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) countries, with experts projecting 100% occupancy during the tournament.
According to multiple regional reports, hotels across the region, including Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan and the UAE, have recorded a massive surge in bookings, mirroring pre-pandemic times.
A flight from Jeddah to Doha takes approximately two hours and thirty minutes, Dubai to Doha takes about one hour, and Muscat to Doha takes around one and a half hours. In contrast, Amman to Doha takes approximately two hours and forty minutes — making these cities a convenient layover for visiting fans.
With just over 50 days to go to the first World Cup to be held in the Arab World from November 20 to December 18, organisers hope to attract 1.2 million tourists to the country. Leveraging on the Hayya Card, which will serve as the 'Fan ID' and an entry requirement for fans coming for the World Cup, GCC and surrounding Arab countries have also opened their doors to World Cup visitors, buttressing Qatar's stand on the tournament being for the entire region.
The World Cup is predicted to generate about $4 billion in revenue opportunity from tourist expenditure in the Middle East, a RedSeer Strategic Consulting research published.
The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism (MHT) in Oman will conduct events to introduce Oman's programme to support the efforts of Qatar to make the FIFA World Cup 2022 a success and to promote Muscat as a major city approved to receive football fans. Hayya Card holders can visit Oman for 60 days on free multiple-entry visas. In Saudi Arabia, Hayya Card holders can avail of the multi-entry visa, which allows them to stay in Saudi for up to 60 days. Jordan has also offered the same. The UAE is offering multiple-entry visas for 90 days from the date of issuance for Dhs100.
Recently, Varun Ahuja, Director of Sales at Aloft Dubai South, told UAE-based outlet Khaleej Times that the demand for rooms, especially for the World Cup group stages, is already driving a price surge.
In May, Qatar Airways announced that it would partner with fellow Gulf airlines, including Flydubai, Oman Air, Kuwait Airways and Saudia airlines, to operate shuttle flights during the World Cup.
Flydubai will operate up to 60 daily flights from Dubai, carrying up to 2,500 fans, while Oman Air will run up to 48 daily flights from Muscat carrying up to 3,400 fans. Kuwait Airways will run up to 20 flights daily, carrying up to 1,700 fans. Saudia will operate around 60 daily flights carrying up to 10,000 fans from Riyadh and Jeddah. The hospitality and tour industry in Qatar has already reported massive booking requests. Mosaad Moustafa Eleiwa, CEO of Outingqatar, told The Peninsula that they had received clients from all over the world for hotels, tours and luxury experiences in Qatar.
“We are booked, and the inquiries keep coming. We are looking to partner with international luxury yacht owners to expand what we will offer visiting fans for the World Cup,” he said. From seeing the coastline of Dhofar province and Musandam, Al Balad in Jeddah and the Red Sea, Petra and the Dead Sea in Jordan, and of course, the host country Qatar -- the World Cup is already opening new horizons in tourism.
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