The World Cup is the largest sporting event in the world, with billions tuning in to watch it on their screens and more than three million travelers typically traveling to watch games at the tournament itself. Whilst the decision to award this year’s World Cup to Qatar was greeted with raised eyebrows at the time it was announced, eyebrows are still being raised as travelers are learning about what they’re likely to encounter in the country – with tent cities, alcohol bans and facemasks set to welcome them in the country.
Whilst the World Cup in Qatar is set to be markedly different from its predecessors in Russia and Brazil, that might not necessarily be a bad thing for spectators. Here’s a closer look at each of the three aforementioned issues, and an explanation of why Qatar has decided to press on with each of them even if they’re not what one has come to expect from a World Cup host country.
Facemasks In Qatar – Information For Travelers
Whilst the world is moving forwards with regards to repealing their Covid-19 related restrictions, other countries are going in the opposite direction – and unfortunately for travelers with an eye on attending the World Cup, Qatar is one of them. Not only does Qatar still require unvaccinated travelers to have a negative PCR test result taken within 72 hours of their arrival into the country, they have also re-introduced their mask mandate after a spike in cases of the virus.
For a while, travelers in Qatar enjoyed exploring the Middle Eastern country mask-free. However, following a cabinet meeting, the Qatari Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) announced that the wearing of face masks would become mandatory for all individuals aged six years of age and older in closed public spaces. However, it remains to be seen as to whether or not masks will be required in stadiums, and it could change again by November – though, as it stands World Cup attendees will need to put a few masks in their luggage to ensure they can still visit malls and shops.
No Alcohol – What Travelers Should Know
As the first World Cup to be held in a majority-Muslim country, travelers should have anticipated that there may be some restrictions on alcohol sales, though the extent to which the tournament will be without may surprise some attendees. Alcohol will not be served at stadiums during a match, and it will only be available for purchase at specific locations and during certain times at some official fan parks throughout the duration of the tournament. The country’s official FIFA Fan Festival, which will accommodate up to 70,000 travelers, will be strictly alcohol free, marketed as a family-friendly place to enjoy the tournament.
Whilst travelers can’t bring their own alcohol into the country, Qatar isn’t completely dry like some of its neighbouring countries, and fans will be able to enjoy a cold one during a hot day in some places such as hotels and bars – though prices of drinks could be extortionately high. Given the clashes between rival sets of fans during the last EURO 2020 and World Cup 2018 in Russia, a comparatively sober World Cup in Qatar might not be such a bad idea after all.
Tent Cites – Information For Travelers
Qatar is many things to many people, but it’s certainly not large – and that issue poses quite a few problems when attempting to welcome millions of travelers from all over the world to your shores. With only around 30,000 hotel rooms available in the country – most of which have already been allocated to guests of World Cup organizers FIFA – Qatar has been forced to get creative when it comes to housing fans. Their solution? Sprawling tent cities and cruise ships.
Costing a tad over $200 per night, tent cities in the desert on the edge of Doha have been created to house traveling fans as a solution to the space crisis. Basic options come without air conditioning, though there are more luxury options available that are just as equipped as any hotel room. It’s not exactly what many will have in mind when traveling across the world to support their country, but there’s always the option of staying on one of the two luxury cruise ships Qatar is leasing as accomodation for the tournament. Qatar has also put on shuttle flights for fans who are considering staying in neighbouring countries and flying in for matches as another solution to the lack of hotel rooms – though travelers may still have trouble finding in drink in those countries.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
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