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What the World Cup means for Qatar An American magazine answers


What the World Cup means for Qatar An American magazine answers

What the World Cup means for Qatar An American magazine answers

The FIFA World Cup organized by FIFA and hosted by Qatar over 29 days is expected to attract more than 1.7 million visitors to Doha, where there will be about 500 thousand visitors to the country on the busiest day of the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East and the Arab region, and FIFA estimates that about 40 million people may seek to visit Qatar after the end of the tournament.

The Qatar 2022 World Cup will be held from November 20 to December 18 in 8 stadiums designed according to the highest international standards.

Dr. Suhail Mahmoud, an independent political analyst based in Chapel City, North Carolina, says that many millions will get to know Qatar better through print media, radio and television networks, and social media posts from fans, participating teams, and journalists based in Qatar. It is estimated that Qatar's spending to prepare for the World Cup amounts to 200 billion dollars.

Mahmoud, who received his higher education in the United States and taught for about 33 years at various universities in Pakistan and the United States, believes that hosting the World Cup is part of the Qatar National Vision 2030, a government initiative to transform Qatar into a global society and provide a higher standard of living.

He says in an analysis published by the American magazine "the National Interest" (national Interest) that the international development plans associated with the Qatar National Vision 2030 include projects directly related to the World Cup, aimed at enhancing continuity after the tournament.

Qatar has built the necessary infrastructure to host about 1.3 million visitors during the month-long tournament, which is almost half of Qatar's population.

In addition to building state-of-the-art stadiums, Qatar has built a modern metro system, expanded its airport, and built new areas within the capital Doha.

What Qatar hopes for from the World Cup

As for what Qatar hopes for from the World Cup, Mahmoud, who has worked as an adviser to the World Bank, the United Nations Development Program, and the International Union for conservation of nature, says that oil and gas exports are the pillar of Qatar's economy, which has the third largest natural gas reserves in the world and is one of the largest oil exporters.

Although natural resources have contributed to the country's prosperity, the market forces that dominate hydrocarbon exports result in revenue volatility; therefore, Qatar aims to increase the size of its energy-independent economy, aspiring to become a trade and tourism hub in the region.

Hosting the World Cup is key to achieving this ambition; between 2013 and 2018, the share of hydrocarbons in GDP decreased from 55% to 39%, reflecting the increase in high spending related to preparations for the World Cup. the tournament supported developments in vital non-energy sectors, and their continued growth will be a priority for Qatar after the end of the World Cup.

Despite the potential gains from the World Cup, major international sporting events, unfortunately, bring poor returns on their host country's investments, and forecasts indicate that Qatar's economy will grow by 3.4% in 2022 and 2023, thanks to the momentum of the World Cup, but it will decrease to 1.0% by 2024.

Despite these concerns, Qatar has strategically built the facilities to benefit the economy after the World Cup, and Qatar's continued investment in modernizing its facilities is likely to expand the scope of transport, trade, and economic initiatives.

Qatar is set to strengthen its soft power and redefine its influence, prestige, status, facilities, and foreign policy goals, and the country will benefit economically from the World Cup.

Qatar expects the event to add 17 billion dollars to its economy. Other forecasts indicate that Qatar's GDP growth will provide a USD 4 billion income opportunity from tourist spending in the Middle East.

The Qatar News Agency recently reported that direct financial revenues from the World Cup are expected to reach 2.2 billion dollars, and long-term economic revenues from 2022 to 2035 are expected to reach 2.7 billion dollars, as strong tourism revenues are expected to boom during the World Cup and beyond.

Qatar aims to transform World Cup facilities into new communities, schools, and hospitals, as well as starting points for tourism flows. The Qatar National Vision 2030 envisions a diversified economy in which the private sector plays a prominent role.

Tourism has received a strong boost from major investments in transport and urban facilities, such as Hamad International Airport, which opened in 2014, and the construction of new hotels, resorts, major markets, and conference centers.

The World Cup will strengthen Qatar's position on the global tourism map, and the positive momentum of the tourism sector in Qatar appeared in the first half of 2022, as it remained a vital tourist destination in the region.

FIFA estimates that about 3 billion people will watch the World Cup, and about 40 million people may seek to visit Qatar after the tournament ends.

It is expected that about 3 million people will visit Qatar in 2023, the government of Qatar is aware of the danger of the covid-19 pandemic, strives to ensure the safety of citizens and residents, as well as visitors, and for any health hazards, Qatar has successfully completed the largest vaccination campaign in the history of the country.

Recent updates to the covid-19 travel and return policy will help attract more visitors ahead of the World Cup, further boosting Qatar's tourism sector.
Last September, Qatar canceled the list of countries subject to "Red health measures" for the covid-19 pandemic and quarantine requirements for arrivals from abroad, but those who are confirmed to be infected with the disease are required to undergo isolation and quarantine.

Globally, all current signs indicate that Qatar has begun to return to normal life since the end of 2019, and travel for leisure and work purposes has returned again.
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