DOHA: Qatar expects its hosting of the 2022 World Cup finals to expand by at least 10pc the value of the region’s hospitality and tourism industry.
The estimate has come in a statement from Hassan Al-Thawadi, secretary-general of Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, quoted by ArabianBusiness.com.
Al-Thawadi noted that the estimate was based on studies of other successful global sports hostings such as the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
He said: “The World Cup would contribute 10pc growth to the value of the region’s hospitality and tourism sectors. Between 1981 and 1987 for example, the number of tourist arrivals to Barcelona was fairly stagnant at around 700,000. Barcelona’s journey has been an extremely successful one with the city now boasting one of the highest occupancy rates in Europe with approximately seven million visitors each year.”
Referring to the regional unifying effect of the 2010 World Cup, Al-Thawadi added: “This was very noticeable when Ghana was the only African team to qualify for the knock-out rounds. South Africans of all colours and creeds united with the entire African nation and gave their full backing to the Ghanaian team. The World Cup was Africa presenting a unified face to the world.”
Qatar has hosted a string of global sporting events in recent years as it moves to build its profile and accelerate its economic growth. The tiny Gulf emirate hosted the Asian Games in 2006 and the Asian Football Confederation’s soccer tournament in January.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has remained firm in his support of the vote in favour of Qatar by the executive committee in December 2010. A number of senior European officials, notably UEFA president Michel Platini, have suggested that the finals should be hosted in the European winter to meet concerns over summer temperatures in the Gulf.