Sports

Qatar’s FIFA World Cup visitor expectations fall short

Qatar welcomed just over 765,000 visitors during the first two weeks of the FIFA World Cup, a stark contrast to the 1.2 million tourists expected by organisers.

According to Reuters, which has seen an organisers’ report, Qatari officials predicted the peak period for international visitors to be between November 24-28 during the group stage. At this time, there were 32 teams in the tournament and there were four matches every day. 

The report, which was published on December 7 by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), said that the first 17 days of the World Cup saw 765,859 international visitors. 

There were 1.33 million match ticket-holders according to the report, and 3.09 million tickets sold across the eight stadiums in Qatar. 

The World Cup started on November 20 and the final is scheduled for December 18. The event is considered to be one of the most expensive in terms of tickets, accommodation and alcohol, which is restricted. 

Despite falling below expectations, the influx of international visitors represents a 25% boost to the country’s resident population of three million. 

A Qatari official told Reuters: “With over a week of competition still to go, a wave of new visitors has started arriving from the nations that made it to the quarter finals.”

More visitors are expected to visit Qatar towards the end of the competition. Cumulative stadium attendance for the first 52 matches was 2.65 million according to the document. 

An earlier report from FIFA said that World Cup attendances for the first round of group stage matches amounted to 94% compared to stadium capacities.