An abundance of rooms … an unexpected surprise due to the astronomical rents in the Qatar World Cup

Qatar has faced an unexpected glut of rooms in the crowded group stage of the World Cup, with websites offering rooms in at least 42 hotels and Airbnb offering hundreds of options for this weekend. Reuters”.

This is a far cry from warnings from Qatari officials ahead of the tournament, including the CEO of Qatar Airways, and fan groups such as the Football Fans Europe Group, that they would face a shortage, which prompted organizers to buy additional accommodation in villas, apartments to arrange. , vessels, temporary cabins and even desert camps. .

Doha property owners were expecting a big boom from the 1.2 million visitors, with numbers expected to peak between November 24 and 28, but the surplus has pushed rents down and will have ripple effects on the wider property market have, some real estate market. real estate agents said. Reuters”.

Real estate agents, housing companies and tenants say some landlords in the tiny Gulf state sought incredibly high rents in the run-up to the event, leaving thousands of rooms empty.

Many fans chose to stay outside of Doha and commute to watch the matches, with up to 500 daily commutes from nearby cities such as Dubai.

The head of Qatar Airways said these flights were organized partly in anticipation of what he called a “lack of accommodation”.

“We contacted half the city and all the big real estate companies… They didn’t seem interested,” said a real estate agent who has worked on international sporting events and asked not to be named for business reasons.

The broker cited the example of a two-bedroom apartment in Doha that rented for $1,200 a night in early October, but a week before the start of the World Cup on Nov. 20, it was $250 a night.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the organizers of the tournament, did not respond to a Reuters request for an update on available rooms or why the expected housing shortage has not materialized.

Organizers say there is a range of accommodation available, from $80 rooms on the outskirts of Doha’s desert per night to rooms on luxury cruise ships, some costing thousands of dollars per day.

As for the nights in the remaining peak period, the official hostel portal on Friday showed available rooms in 42 hotels and in villas and apartments. Booking.com has rooms in 73 properties and the (AirBNB) website has shown 503 homes.

Eleven days before the start of the tournament, organizers said there were at least 25,000 rooms available for each night of the World Cup, according to Reuters.

How did the fans move to Dubai?

Thousands of fans settled in Dubai, making the grueling day-long trek to Qatar’s capital Doha via hour-long shuttles connecting cities during the tournament.

Fans from participating countries chose Dubai’s vibrant nightlife scene over Doha’s quiet atmosphere, according to the Financial Times report.

With 60 daily flights between Dubai and Doha, up to 350,000 people can be transported from the region’s tourism hub for the duration of the tournament, which is expected to host around 1.5 million visitors.

Officials say the number of fans visiting Dubai just to watch the World Cup in Qatar is likely to be less than tens of thousands, or the equivalent of a three percentage point increase in hotel occupancy.

Many of the match tickets were sold to expatriates in the Gulf, including some of the more than 100,000 Britons living in the UAE.

Many hotels in Dubai are now operating at almost full capacity.

In September, the latest available statistics showed that average occupancy was around 140,000 available rooms across Dubai, or 71 per cent, with the average daily rate up by around a quarter on 2019.

The pearl is empty

And suffering from the high costs was not limited to visitors from abroad.

The real estate broker said that while owners lowered prices as the tournament approached, many tried to get short-term deals at high prices that often caused tenants to leave, the agency said.

Long-term rentals in Qatar rose more than 30 percent in the third quarter, as some landlords asked prospective tenants to sign two-year contracts at current prices, according to a report released Sept. 30 by real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield.

Reuters spoke to long-term tenants in five apartment buildings and two apartment complexes in Doha who said that in the months leading up to the tournament, landlords refused to renew annual contracts and raised rents.

And in the Pearl, a luxury residential area built on an artificial island, a 30-year-old Tunisian woman whose lease expired in October said her landlord told her he would not renew the contract until after the World Cup soccer tournament.

The woman, who declined to publish her name or name the property owner, added that he had arranged for her to leave her furniture in the apartment so he could rent it furnished.

“I forced myself to accept his offer,” she said, adding that for too long she had been afraid to commit to high rents.

But she had to rent a temporary apartment because her brothers, who like football, bought tickets for the tournament.

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