A yacht that can be hired to watch the World Cup while sailing around Dubai is docked in Dubai port on November 1, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup football tournament. Photo by Giuseppe CACACE / AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE / AFP via Getty Images)
Giuseppe Cacus | AFP | Getty Images
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Qatar isn’t the only country hosting the 2022 World Cup to see a tourism boom.
The neighboring United Arab Emirates is also set to benefit from the wave, with the glitzy commercial capital of Dubai set to see an estimated 1 million extra visitors during football tournaments, according to the Dubai Sports Council.
Dubai Airports CEO Paul Griffiths in August called Dubai a “major gateway” for the World Cup and predicted it would see more tourists than Qatar.
And the city is pulling out all the stops by taking advantage of its reputation as a more liberal and built-up ultra-modern city than Qatar and advertising the extraordinary tourist attractions for which it has developed a reputation.
Dubai is known for over-the-top and bizarre experiences – such as its indoor ski slope complex in the desert, the world’s deepest man-made plunge pool, the world’s tallest building and the largest Ferris wheel. Now it has added exclusive World Cup-themed experiences, as well as taking advantage of the fact that Qatar, a small country of 3 million people, is struggling to accommodate all of its expected tourists, and among them Many would instead opt to stay in Dubai for matches.
Getty Images | A general view of the West Gulf region ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 on November 18, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.
Getty Images | francois nail
This is made possible by “match day air shuttles” operated by Qatar Airlines and Dubai-based low-cost carrier flydubai – same-day round-trip flights from Dubai or nearby Oman for passengers to attend a match in Qatar. allows booking. Refund in less than 24 hours.
“Only an hour away from Qatar by flight, Dubai is a familiar destination for global travelers,” Tawfiq Rahim, a research fellow at the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government, told CNBC. “Its tourist infrastructure and straightforward entry requirements make it a convenient base for World Cup fans.”
According to Cushman & Wakefield Qatar, Qatar is expected to provide a total of 45,000 hotel rooms by early November, with tournament accommodation “supported by cruise ships, camping facilities, apartments and villas.” Meanwhile, Dubai as a city has more than 140,000 hotel rooms, according to hotel data firm STR.
Around the different emirates of the UAE, 43 fan zones have been set up to watch matches, with some of the largest – such as Budweiser’s official BudX Fan Zone in Dubai Harbor – large enough to host up to 10,000 fans per day And matches are broadcast on a 3,552 square foot screen. , There’s even a soccer-themed hotel on Dubai’s man-made Palm Islands where the most dedicated fans can stay while Doha shuttles in and out for daily matches.
A general view of the downtown area in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 08, 2021.
Satish Kumar | reuters
Dubai’s revenue will not just come from hotel stays and restaurants. Visitors to the Emirates can rent superyachts running for thousands of dollars per night to watch matches while sailing through the Persian Gulf.
Exclusive Yachts, the UAE’s largest private charter yacht company, offers the most luxurious nautical experience at its most. $20,000 per night on a tri-deck superyacht A skydeck, the onboard bar, SkyLounge, serves five cabins and gourmet cuisine with a Michelin-starred chef.
“We are expecting over 300% [rise] Yacht bookings increased in November and December mainly due to the World Cup and visitors to Qatar who are looking for leisure activities in Dubai,” managing director Amit Patel told Doha News in October.
Qatar’s Minister of Tourism and CEO of Qatar Airways Akbar Al-Baker (third-left) holds a press conference regarding Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup preparations in the capital Doha on May 26, 2022, while he is accompanied by CEO of Oman Air Abdulaziz is also there. Al-Raeesi, Ghaith Al-Ghaith, CEO of flydubai and Captain Ibrahim Koshy, CEO of Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia).
Karim Jaffer | AFP | Getty Images
Flight traffic is also increasing – in mid-November Dubai Airport announced that 120 shuttle flights would take off from Dubai World Central Airport each day between the tournament’s start and end dates of 20 November and 18 December.
And on Monday flydubai CEO Gaith Al Gaith said almost all of the airline’s match-day shuttle flights to Doha were at full capacity.
“This is a pattern that will continue for the next few days and weeks,” Al Gaith said.
flydubai and Qatar Airways will jointly operate matchday shuttle flights between DWC and Doha. With connecting flights from Dubai’s main airport, Dubai International (DXB), travelers can catch a flight every 30 to 50 minutes.
But like everything in Dubai, there’s a luxury option if you’ve got the cash to spend: private jet charter companies have seen business boom, with some fans willing to pay their eyes to watch the match.
“We definitely see a huge increase in traffic between Dubai and Doha in the coming month,” Oleg Kafarov, director of portfolio development and communications for Dubai-based private charter jet company Jetex, told CNBC.
Jetex offers two packages: a full private jet service priced at 240,000 UAE dirhams ($65,340) for up to 10 passengers, or 29,000 dirhams ($7,895) per seat. The flight time between Dubai and Doha is approximately one hour.
The company decorated its VIP terminal at DWC airport as a World Cup Fan Zone with a mini soccer pitch and other themed decorations.
Despite the hefty prices, demand for private flights is significantly higher this time of year than last year, charter operators are reporting, although figures vary from company to company.
Ian Moore, chief commercial officer of private charter company Vistajet, says more than 70 of its executive jet flights to Qatar are already booked for the matches.
“Obviously there are some people who are waiting to see if their favorite team makes it past the qualifying round,” Moore told Gulf News.
“We strongly encourage our customers to book with us as soon as possible, even with a private jet, given the restrictions, and the volume of flights expected to Doha, You need to be well organized and well structured.”