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Dubai is cashing on on the 2022 Qatar World Cup

A charterable yacht to watch the World Cup while cruising around Dubai docked in Dubai on November 1, 2022, ahead of Qatar’s 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament. Photo by Giuseppe CACACE/AFP) (Photo by GIUSEPPE CACACE/AFP via Getty Images)

Giuseppe Cacace | afp | beautiful pictures

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Qatar is not the only country with a huge tourism boom thanks to hosting the 2022 World Cup.

According to the Dubai Sports Council, the neighboring United Arab Emirates will also benefit from this wave, with the flashy commercial capital of Dubai hosting an additional 1 million visitors over the course of the event. football League.

Paul Griffiths, CEO of Dubai Airports, in August called Dubai the “main gateway” to the World Cup and predicted it would receive more tourists than Qatar.

And the city is doing its best, capitalizing on its reputation as a more modern, liberal and constructive city than Qatar, while promoting the lavish tourist attractions for which the city has developed a reputation.

Dubai is known for its out-of-the-ordinary and out-of-the-ordinary experiences — like an indoor ski slope complex in the desert, the world’s deepest man-made plunge pool, tallest building in the world and largest Ferris wheel. Now it has added specific World Cup-themed experiences, while taking advantage of the fact that Qatar, a tiny country of 3 million people, is struggling to accommodate all its guests. Tourists expect and many of them will choose to stay in Dubai to watch the matches.

Getty Images | Panoramic view of the West Bay area ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup on November 18, 2022 in Doha, Qatar.

Getty Images | Francois Neel

This is made possible thanks to “match day shuttle flights” operated by Qatar Airlines and Dubai-based low-cost carrier FlyDubai – allowing travelers to book return flights for the day from neighboring Dubai or Oman to attend a match in Qatar and be back in less than 24 hours.

“Just an hour’s flight from Qatar, Dubai is a familiar destination for global travelers,” Taufiq Rahim, a research fellow at the Mohammed bin Rashid School of Government, told CNBC. “The travel infrastructure and simple entry requirements make it a convenient base for World Cup fans.”

Qatar is expected to offer a total of 45,000 hotel rooms by early November, according to Cushman & Wakefield Qatar, with competitive accommodation “supported by cruise ships, camping facilities, apartments and villas. ” Meanwhile, Dubai is a city with more than 140,000 hotel rooms, according to hotel data firm STR.

Around the various emirates of the UAE, 43 fan zones to watch the matches have been set up, including some of the biggest – like the official BudX fan zone of Budweiser in the port of Dubai – big enough to host 10,000 fans daily with matches being broadcast on 3,552 square foot screens. . There’s even a football-themed hotel on Dubai’s man-made Palm Islands where the most die-hard fans can stay while being shuttled in and out of Doha to watch the daily matches.

Panorama of downtown area in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, December 8, 2021.

Satish Kumar | Reuters

A $20,000 Nightly Match Experience

Dubai’s revenue will not only come from hotels and restaurants. Visitors to the emirate can charter superyachts worth tens of thousands of dollars a night to watch matches while sailing across the Persian Gulf.

Xclusive Yachts, the UAE’s largest private charter yacht company, offers the most luxurious sailing experience in the world. $20,000 per night on a three-story superyacht complete with a skydeck, onboard bar, skylounge, five cabins and a Michelin-starred chef serving gourmet meals.

“We are expecting more than 300% [rise] in cruise bookings in November and December is mainly due to World Cup and Qatari travelers who are also looking for recreational activities in Dubai,” CEO Amit Patel told Doha News on October.

Akbar al-Baker (3rd from left), Qatar Tourism Minister and CEO of Qatar Airways, holds a press conference on the preparations for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, in the capital Doha on 26 May 2022, along with Oman Air CEO Abdulaziz al-Raisi, flydubai CEO Ghaith al-Ghaith, and Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA) CEO Captain Ibrahim Koshy .

Karim Jaafar | afp | beautiful pictures

Flight traffic has also skyrocketed — Dubai airports in mid-November announced that there will be 120 huge shuttle flights flying in and out of Dubai World Center airport every day between the start date The start to end dates of the tournament are November 20 and December 18.

And on Monday, Flydubai CEO Ghaith Al Ghaith said nearly all of its match-day shuttle flights to Doha were operating at full capacity.

“This is a pattern that looks set to continue over the next few days and weeks,” Al Ghaith said.

Flydubai and Qatar Airways will jointly operate shuttle flights on the day of the match between DWC and Doha. With the addition of flights from Dubai’s main airport, Dubai International (DXB), travelers can catch a flight every 30 to 50 minutes.

Exploding demand for private jets

But like everything in Dubai, there’s a luxury option if you can afford to spend it: Private jet rental companies have seen a boom in business, with some people seeing a boom. Fans are willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money to come and watch the matches.

“We definitely see an increase in traffic between Dubai and Doha,” Oleg Kafarov, director of communications and portfolio development at Dubai-based private charter jet company Jetex, told CNBC. strong next month”.

Jetex offers two packages: a full private jet service that costs 240,000 UAE dirhams ($65,340) for up to 10 passengers or an individual seat that costs 29,000 dirhams ($7,895) per person. Flight time between Dubai and Doha is about an hour.

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The company even decorated the VIP terminal at DWC airport as a World Cup fan zone, with a mini soccer field and other themed decorations.

Despite the high prices, demand for private flights is significantly higher than it was this time last year, charter operators report, although figures vary between companies.

Ian Moore, commercial director of private jet rental company VistaJet, said more than 70 of the airline’s flights to Qatar to watch the matches have been booked.

“Obviously there are some people waiting to see if their favorite team will qualify,” Moore told Gulf News.

“We strongly encourage customers to book with us as soon as possible, even with a private jet, due to limitations and the number of flights that Doha is expecting, you need to be organized and arranged. reasonable.”

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