Qatar expects 1.5 million visitors as 2022 countdown begins
Qatar is expecting a staggering 1.5 million visitors to arrive in the country for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, a top official said yesterday. Today marks the start of the final four-year countdown to the region’s first FIFA World Cup to be hosted by Qatar from November 21 to December 18 in 2022.
Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), said Qatar is steaming ahead with its large-scale preparations to host a grand show. “In four years’ time, 1.5 million fans will descend on Qatar from every corner of the globe and billions more will tune in on their TVs, smartphones and tablets to watch 28 days of football,” Al Thawadi said in a statement released by SC yesterday.
“It will be a momentous occasion for the teams participating, the fans watching, and for the whole Arab world, which is eagerly anticipating hosting the showpiece event of the most popular sport in the world for the first time ever,” Al Thawadi added.
The SC Secretary-General said a World Cup in Qatar has the potential to unite the region through the power of sport.
“Football, more than any other sport, has the power to build bridges of understanding between people and cultures,” Al Thawadi said. “With key tournament and national infrastructure projects on-schedule and each of our legacy initiatives proving a catalyst for positive change both locally and abroad, we are delivering on our promise of hosting a unique and transformational FIFA World Cup for Qatar, the region and the world,” he added.
Also yesterday, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said football’s showpiece event in Qatar would be a game-changer in terms of forging strong relations among the citizens across the region. “I think this World Cup is extremely important, not only for Qatar but for the whole region – a region that has a passion for football and is investing a lot in the game,” Infantino was quoted as saying in an SC statement released
“This World Cup is a unique opportunity – a chance to show the world what this region can offer; for football, but also for anybody in the world to come and visit a beautiful place, learn about a new culture and meet new people. In this world, especially in the current climate, it is very much needed that we open our doors and discover new places,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said.
Infantino, who praised Russia’s efforts to conduct a great FIFA World Cup earlier this summer, said Qatar could deliver an even bigger and more memorable event in four years’ time.
“There are many lessons we can learn from Russia,” said Infantino. “The first one is how to welcome so many people – 1.5 million people came to Russia to enjoy the World Cup and they were all welcomed in a way that was unexpected to many.
“There were many fears about Russia, but it turned out to be a very safe World Cup, a very welcoming World Cup, in a country that made fans feel good. The whole population contributed to that and I’m sure the same will happen here in Qatar. The Russian World Cup was the best ever, and the World Cup in 2022 has to be even better,” the FIFA chief said.