Riding on the bandwagon of success from FIFA’s announcement of awarding Qatar the privilege of hosting the World Cup 2022, I thought of doing a series of blogposts that will discuss the repercussions and many aspects for the coming future leading up to 2022.
Immediate success – Part 1
December 2nd changed everything for the Middle East as the FIFA World Cup will be hosted in the Middle East for the first time in sporting history. Moreover, it also represents an opportunity to push for many changes across the entire region. Qatar may be small, but it will be the first country since the first World Cup in Uruguay 1930 to host it in such a small location. You’re thinking, ‘enough of all this that I know, what’s going to happen next?’
A LOT….QUITE A LOT over the next decade, but the effects may not kick in immediately. I thought of segmenting this into several parts relevant to the context, so that readers can easily digest it.
This is the first thing that I anticipate.
People predicted that with the privilege of hosting a high profile event comes at the cost of increased cost of living. Currently, many people find it hard enough to make ends meet, due to rising prices of basic food consumables like meat, poultry, and vegetables. The government has to take prompt and proactive action to control this, as it spiral out of control and even be an outlet of unfair advantage for retailers and distributors to capitalize on profiteering. That’s what I already see when many commodities are already expensive enough.Companies would have to raise incomes and benefits to align with price hikes, or you’d be seeing many packing their bags and flocking to the airport like a pack of wolves. However, rents are at a current all-time low due to the abundant over-supply of housing and residential units; I’m expecting them to stay that way for a couple of months. I don’t know if I can say much about gas prices here, but people should find a way of controlling their consumption. It will yield more money when sold to other countries, and reinvested into other things.
It may even spill over to other GCC countries, as they seek to secure certain privileges in exchange for their support in the bid process.
- Influx of contractors
Contractors and many other organizations were clinched to their seats hoping to bid for the numerous tenders that would come from what will now be called the Qatar 2022 Organization Committee. That probably explains the absence of new buildings and architectural marvels not being announced in the paper nor sprouting out of the Doha horizon.
Word was also on the street that around 60% of Doha (separate areas combined together) would be leveled and rebuilt to suit international quality standards leading up-to the games. Who better to do that than the numerous contracting companies who will want to set up shop in Qatar? The government will have to prioritize it to local contractors who will have to do a good job on them, and bring in external ones for the bigger and prospective projects. Of course, there is also the possibilities of the bigger ones sub-contracting to the small-to-medium ones here in Qatar or the Middle East region.
(I’ll expand on this more in my next part as it will revolve around visitors)
- Quality of Services
Let’s face it…everyone who has traveled the world has seen just how good products and services can be when the government works for the people. They give you the attention as you payed for it with money. However, it’s kind of the opposite here in Qatar and the region, as they only seem to target rich people with the malls and even upscale places that the majority may not even afford. I may be wrong, but this has been my experience. They don’t even know the meaning of ‘customer service’, or even retaining them to encourage repeat shopping.
From my experience, I’ve seen the pace in which things can get done here – from approving a bank loan to even doing repairs to a car. Many of them ‘brownnose’ those who have money, but compromise in being equal to everyone. People who work here need to wake up now and improve their work ethic rather than sit around lazily saying “InshaAllah” to any question (I’ve seen people misuse this in Qatar and nothing ever gets done – it’s the opposite when I used to live in Dubai).
Wake up everyone, we need to start conditioning ourselves!
- Regional Tourism
As Qatar did say that the win is also for the entire Middle East region, they also stand to benefit for the coming years.Tourists would be able to use Qatar as a focal springboard for visiting places around the region, and the budget carriers are in prime position to capitalize on this. While Qatar Airways would be busy flying in people to the country from their numerous destinations, Air Arabia and FlyDubai have become the most popular options for inter-GCC travel. I may be wrong to think that this may even spur Qatar to start a budget airline of their own.
It might grow into animosity and misunderstanding, but Qatar shouldn’t forget that they went around the GCC to secure their support for the bid. It’s in their best interests to work towards unity, and ‘divide and conquer’ seems to be the best strategy. Qatar Airways can primarily focus on bringing in people from around the world with likely support of other airlines like Emirates and Etihad Airways. The budget carriers can focus on promoting tourism to the other GCC nations, and facilitate the regional influx to Qatar to watch the games. It’s a ‘win-win’ for everyone.
My view shows that Oman and U.A.E could stand to benefit the most, for the following reasons:
1) Oman’s eco-tourism would allow them to promote places like Salalah.
2) The June period is a boon for Dubai as they host their annual Dubai Summer Surprises. This will easily rebound Dubai as a cosmopolitan and urban capital destination that it had achieved.
3) Abu-Dhabi’s aggressive take on having things like the Formula 1 race track, the Ferrari Drome theme park, and the numerous museums and cultural initiatives they are undertaking
I could list more, but these stood out the most.
To end Part 1, I’ll leave you with this:
Liquidity is going to be flowing around like Niagara Falls, and accounts will be balancing out in exponential scale across the GCC. The Qatar 2022 Organization Committee is going to be buying a lot of Panadols to handle the headaches and migraines that they’ll be suffering for the next few years to figure out the logistics and arrangements.
Look out for my next post…in the near future