Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022 provides an excellent opportunity to display its tourism hosting capabilities in front of billions of people. This opportunity will not only promote tourism, but also its prestige. The government has made major arrangements; however, certain last-minute enhancements or alterations are required to accommodate the estimated number of visitors during the World Cup 2022. If it is successful in overcoming these obstacles, it will be able to use the FIFA World Cup to leave a lasting legacy.

Qatar’s marketing potential needs to be upscaled

Football has become a sport that people of different origins, races, and heritages appreciate. A GlobalData report “Tourism Destination Market Insight: United States (2022)” reveals that the 2018 World Cup was seen by 3.6 billion people, representing approximately half of the world’s population. On 15 July 2018, the final between France and Croatia drew a total worldwide audience of 1.12 billion, with an average live audience of 191 million over the 64 matches. These statistics highlight the marketing potential that Qatar has to promote itself as a world-renowned holiday destination, something the country hopes will become its legacy.

The World Cup will provide a fantastic opportunity for Qatar to sell itself as a tourism destination. In 2018, over five million tourists, including 2.9 million foreign visitors, visited communities hosting FIFA World Cup matches. The increase in visits to World Cup host cities ranged from 19% in Moscow to 1,678% in Saransk, with a 74% (average) rise. The World Cup may give attention to lesser-known places in Qatar, boosting tourism in the long run, and given the geographical size of Qatar, this would drastically increase the visitation to its lesser-known cities.

Qatar must be ready to satisfy the demand

According to GlobalData’s Hotels database, Qatar now has 129 hotels. This quantity is likely insufficient to accommodate the estimated international arrivals in Qatar during the World Cup, as evidenced by the establishment of match-day shuttle flights from nearby GCC states.

Prior to the pandemic, Qatar had a total of 130 hotels, which was expected to increase. However, it has not, largely thanks to the catastrophic effect of the pandemic.

However, the recovery period is underway as the country managed to boost the total number of guests by 10%, from 2.28 million in 2019 to 2.51 million in 2022. The country’s efforts are visible, but much more development is required. However, if Qatar manages to tackle the challenges, it could create a legacy.