FIFA World Cup 2022 to make Qatar epicenter of tourism, business


Officials during the virtual event entitled ‘Qatar: Outlook and Opportunities Before and After FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022’.

Doha: FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 will showcase the country’s infrastructure to the world and will put Qatar on the global map to become the epicentre of tourism and the business hub, said an official during an online event, recently.

Commercial Bank in association with Euromoney organized a virtual event entitled ‘Qatar: Outlook and Opportunities Before and After FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022’ which shed light on Qatar’s macro outlook – gas, tourism, finance, investment; what FIFA World Cup 2022 will mean for Qatar – economy, image, investment; and the legacy of World Cup 2022 – post event strategy and opportunity. Richard Banks, Senior Adviser, Euromoney moderated the event.

Dr Leonie Lethbridge, EGM, Chief Operating Officer at Commercial Bank said: “In terms of the World Cup it is a culmination of 12 years of activity since the bid was won in 2010 and more than $200bn has been spent on the infrastructure. The independent assessments would say that the infrastructure is world class that has created huge benefits for the economy in terms of ability to diversify and in underpinning long term sustainable growth. Also, this year there has been an immediate hike in terms of benefits across many sectors such as financial services, real estate, and tourism. I think the multiplier effect across multiple sectors of the economy is very powerful.

“Qatar’s economy is very well managed which also manifested during the peak of COVID-19 when the country remained open which was remarkable. The supply chain disruptions that other countries faced were not experienced here. The growth is quite strong and projected to remain strong,” she added.

Speaking about the real estate market and its development, Basil Bachos, Residential Sales Director for United Development Company (UDC) noted that Qatar has a very strong local economy in regard to expansion, and oil and gas. “We in UDC being one of the leading development companies are specialized in the premium properties and we have seen that this has been extremely stable irrespective of all the challenges. The real estate has proven to be very effective, and the effect of FIFA has been direct on real estate. Based on our numbers we have reached an all-high occupancy rate this year, we are currently at 96 percent occupancy. It’s the year of leasing; sales have been going in a very smooth way, but we can see the big influx”.

Responding to a query about what will be the economic and the strategic legacy of the World Cup and its lasting impact, Bachos said that Qatar has taken very clear approach before the World Cup and has focused a lot on human development. “The way we see real estate is currently there have been several approaches by the government that supports the real estate sector and by developers like ourselves. We are transforming from an infrastructure development which will put Qatar on the global map, and it will become a tourist and a business hub,” he added.

He also reiterated that hosting the World Cup gives Qatar the stand to be recognized globally and the legacy that it will leave behind for Qatar is to become the epicentre of tourism and business post-World Cup. “FIFA will be the best way to showcase the infrastructure to the world and this will attract a lot of people about what the country has to offer. In terms of the investment, Qatar is one of the safest places in the world. We are expecting to see a lot of the FDIs coming in through the government initiatives,” Bachos added.

Akber Khan, Senior Director, Asset Management for Al Rayan Investment said: “Qatar is the largest exporter of LNG in the world and as a result of the surge in energy prices, the region and Qatar had a big boost. Year to date, Qatar’s stock markets have been strongly positive. From a fiscal point of view the country is generating massive surpluses on a monthly basis”.

Speaking about the legacy and the non-energy areas that are going to be opportunities in coming years and impact of the North Field Expansion, Khan noted that the most tangible legacy is the number of different areas of infrastructure in transport, power generation, sewage, desalination, telecommunications, and the 5G rollout.

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