The World Cup is in full swing in Qatar, with several stadiums across
the country hosting various matches everyday simultaneously, while fan
zones have been set up within Qatar and neighbouring destinations across
the United Arab Emirates, such as Oman, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
The tournament has a lot to live up to, following the success of Expo
2020 Dubai, the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa
and South Asia region, which concluded earlier this year. With Qatar
having also attracted controversy regarding its human rights record, to
what extent is the World Cup highlighting Qatar’s potential for business
Qatar as a MICE all-rounder on global stage
Rebecca Amey, managing director, Jack Morton MENA
This World Cup is important on a global stage, not just for Qatar as
the first Middle Eastern country to host the tournament, but also for
the wider region to demonstrate what it is capable of with its
entrepreneurial spirit and vision.
Through preparations and planning for the tournament, the MICE
ecosystem has collaborated to make Qatar a destination worthy of higher
consideration for MICE in the near future and longer-term. It has a
proven ability to host a mega event and handle a large number of
visitors, highlighted by the increased size of the main airport and visa
The options for curated guest MICE programmes are endless, with
newly-built or refurbished hotels, associated increased training in
guest customer service levels, new or improved event venue options
including architecturally advanced and eco-friendly stadia, conference
and exhibition venues, and an increased number of leisure offerings for
visitors. The newly opened port within Doha also enables cruise lines to
offer the destination as a route.
In terms of partner suppliers there has been considerable upskilling
of supply network services across AV, technology and print, an increased
number of local suppliers and international networks setting up
operations in Qatar, upskilling of promotional staff and general
development of local industries and expertise to international
With the football tournament, the Middle East region is showcasing
how it is closely connected with neighbouring destinations in easy reach
of one another, making it possible to spend time exploring and
discovering different countries.
You can travel to Qatar for a match and then hop across to a
neighbouring country on the same day. With fan festivals and World Cup
activities and celebrations happening across the UAE, in Oman, Kuwait
and Saudi Arabia, the region is showing it is truly connected.
Strong MICE infrastructure to compete with the big boys
Natalie Crampton, founder and director, TEC
The tournament is definitely a boost from a MICE perspective – the
spotlight is on Doha and the surrounding region. As long as everything
goes to plan, and is well organised and the media is positive around the
tournament, this puts the destination at the forefront of planners’
minds, which will hopefully increase business tourism in the region.
Qatar has been in the spotlight recently, however, for making snap
decisions, such as alcohol not being allowed in the stadium. That has
been difficult for all the teams and brands that have been working
towards this, and it demonstrates that some factors can be out of our
The event is having a positive knock-on effect on neighbouring
regions too – hotels are full, and many restaurants too until mid
December, while attractions such as Dubai’s Museum of the Future are
sold out until mid-December. For tourism it’s positive and this will
hopefully translate into MICE business in these cities.
airports around the region have also been upgraded or expanded to cope
with the visitor footfall for the football and that can only also be a
positive for the MICE industry.