Ticketless fans may struggle for hotels during Qatar World Cup

Qatar 2022 organisers launch accommodation portal, saying that ‘fans with tickets will be a priority’.

qatar football fans
Qatar is hoping to attract more than one million visitors during the World Cup that takes place from November 21 to December 18 this year [Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera]

The Qatar 2022 World Cup organisers have launched an official accommodation portal for the tournament with ticket-holders as priority, meaning visitors arriving in Qatar without match tickets may not be able to secure a place to stay.

Qatar is hoping to attract more than one million visitors during the World Cup that takes place from November 21 to December 18 this year.

In the first round of ticket sales earlier this year, FIFA, football’s world governing body, said it had received 17 million applications, the results of which were announced through a lucky draw.

“Fans can book accommodation via the dedicated portal which will offer various options such as apartments, villas and cruise ships,” Omar al-Jaber, Executive Director of Accommodation at the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), the tournament host organisers, said at the launch of the portal on Wednesday, confirming that prices would start from $80.

“The two cruise ships will have more than 4,000 rooms. There will be fan villages at four different locations. Accommodation options will also be available through vacation homes and visitors have the option of staying with friends and family.”

An SC official confirmed to Al Jazeera that organisers had block-booked 80 percent of the hotels and accommodation options across the country which will be available to ticket holders.

Teams that have qualified for Qatar 2022

Given the expected influx of fans and tourists, there are concerns that Qatar may not be able to offer enough accommodation to visitors, especially those without tickets and wanting to experience the World Cup and the country’s culture at various areas away from the stadiums, including public areas and fan zones.

The organisers, in a statement sent to Al Jazeera earlier this year, said that “with up to 130,000 rooms for the one million-plus fans expected over the course of the 28-day tournament, there are no concerns over a shortfall of accommodation”.

However, al-Jaber was unable to answer Al Jazeera’s question on whether the SC was confident there would be enough accommodation for all those arriving in Qatar, instead pointing fans with valid tickets to visit the portal at the earliest to get the best prices and availability.

An SC official later confirmed to Al Jazeera that “the priority right now [for accommodation requests] are the ticket holders”.

“We anticipate a number of visiting fans will stay with friends or family during the tournament. Qatar’s compact tournament footprint will also mean teams and fans need only one accommodation for the duration of the tournament,” according to the SC statement.

Source: Al Jazeera