Qatar unveils 6000 World Cup fan booths near the airport

Qatar unveils 6000 World Cup fan booths near the airport

By LUJAIN JO, Associated Press

DOHA, Qatar (AP) – Qatar on Wednesday unveiled a fan village of 6,000 cabins in an isolated area near its airports, a lodging offer at the lower end of what’s available for the upcoming World Cup just days away from its launch.

As reporters toured the cabins, desert winds released sand at the 3.1 square kilometer (1.1 square mi) site, which includes a metro station, bus stop, pop-up restaurant and shop. Officials said the area could theoretically hold up to 12,000 people if booked to capacity.

Artificial green grass covers the walkways outside, with common areas filled with large bean bag-style chairs under a gray sky on Wednesday. The flags of the competing countries fluttered in the strong desert winds, and there is a large screen on site for fans to watch the matches. Workers walk around the site, checking out its finishing touches.

The brightly colored cabins, each with thin walls, are designed to accommodate one or two people with twin beds, nightstand, small table and chair, air conditioning, toilet and shower inside.

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Each will cost about $200 a night – $270 with a plate – as the tournament goes on. Omar Al-Jaber, head of accommodation at the Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy for the tournament, said about 60% of the rooms are already booked for the tournament.

There will be other rooms on offer at $80 a night farther from this location near Doha International Airport and Hamad International Airport, both of which will feature flights at all hours of the tournament. Planes flew overhead during the visit on Wednesday.

Those staying at Fan Village can expect a 40-minute travel journey to the stadium sites.

“Most fans would prefer if it was not a hotel, they would prefer the apartment and the villa,” Al-Jaber said, noting that these options are operated by the French hospitality company Accor. However, those who want low-cost accommodation will come to this location and the other for cheaper options, he said.

In the run-up to the tournament, concerns about hotel room spaces and rising prices for available rooms left Qatar short of hotel capacity for all the teams, staff, volunteers and fans at the World Cup. So Doha has set up camping sites and booths, chartered cruise ships, and encouraged fans to stay in neighboring countries and travel to participate in the games.

Qatar estimated it would have 130,000 rooms per day for the tournament.

Already, nearby Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has planned an influx of World Cup fans who want to stay there as their money may go further.

“Now, the option of shuttle flights, is one of the options for people who are already residing in our neighboring countries and … just want to take a day to attend the match,” Al-Jaber said. “So this is a good option for them in the case of their case.”

“If they would like to come and stay, they are of course more welcome, and there are many, many options ahead,” he added.

There are still many options available for rent in Qatar, ranging from hotels, cruise ship rooms, traditional dhows, tents, fan village, porta cabins and caravans. Al Jaber said.

“We have enough accommodations, people can still come and enjoy the tournament and of course they can choose what accommodation they are looking for,” he said.

Associated Press writer John Gambrel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates contributed to this report.

Follow Jane Jo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lujainjo.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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