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Qatar tribune

Ayeni Olusegun


The historic hosting of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in the Arab world has left a memorable mark in various sectors, notably tourism and global event hosting, the secretary general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy has stated.

Speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum on Wednesday in Doha, Hassan Al Thawadi said the tournament put the nation on the map as well as the wider Middle East and North Africa region. According to FIFA, around 3-4 million spectators watched the World Cup in stadiums. 

Al Thawadi added that leveraging the experience from the World Cup, Qatar has hosted several tournaments, including the AFC Asian Cup 2023, that have posted impressive engagement and fan participation numbers.

“I think tourism is the number one beneficiary of the World Cup,” Al Thawadi told Bloomberg’s Jennifer Zabasajja during the session titled ‘After the World Cup: Sport, Media & Entertainment in the Arab World.’ “In 2023, we welcomed four million visitors, and the numbers keep increasing.

There has obviously been a big build-up on tourism, the infrastructure is ready, and the plans are coming ahead.” 

The disclosed figures represent the highest percentage recorded during the past five years, strengthening the plans to receive six million visitors annually by 2030.

Qatar’s ambitious tourism strategy envisions a significant rise in the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) from 7 to 12 per cent, propelling Qatar to become one of the most rapidly growing tourist destinations in the Middle East.

“We are also focusing a lot more on events, and in the Arab world, there’s a considerable interest in the events and entertainment industry. There’s a big focus today, whether in the Emirates or Saudi Arabia; you see a lot of big moves happening. The events being hosted indicate where the Middle East and the Arab world are putting a lot of shifts,” he added.

Meanwhile, the SC head recalled the pressure of hosting the World Cup and the intensity of the attention paid to the tournament. 

“It’s the only tournament that’s had that much attention for a long time. If we compare it with the 2026 World Cup to be hosted in Canada, Mexico, and the US - - you hear about it, but it’s not really front-page news. We had to endure that interest and that focus for 13 years. That motivated us even further to set clear goals and objectives to achieve daily. In my opinion, it led to at least the best 32- version of the World Cup, not only for Qatar but for the Arab world and the global South,” Al Thawadi added.

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