Cruise Ships Could Solve All of Qatar’s Problems (Well, One of Them)


Since the announcement that Qatar will be hosting the world cup in 2022, various concerns have been voiced about their suitability. With controversy spiralling over the country’s views on homosexuality, it seems there will also be some fundamental problems with the country’s ability to house the hundreds of thousands of tourists that will flock to watch the world cup. As it stands, Qatar doesn’t have nearly enough hotel rooms to go around… perhaps they will relax the rules and let same sex couples share rooms after all?

Thankfully, somebody has come up with a unique idea which could save the country a lot of problems, AND a lot of money. Cruise ships will be brought to the region to house tourists, staying in port for the duration of the world cup, and leaving again when the world cup is over.

It has not yet been announced which cruise ships will be involved, or even which cruise liners are interested in this arrangement but on the face of it, it seems like the perfect solution. Qatar does not have enough hotel rooms to fulfil the requirements of the world cup, however generally speaking, they have TOO MANY hotel rooms for the amount of tourists that visit the country each year. It therefore doesn’t make sense for them to build tens of “super hotels” as they will remain empty most of the year and lose money.

Although there are still many years until the world cup in 2022, it is important for the country to work out the logistics of it early so construction can begin wherever it needs to. With a population of just 1.6 million people (around 85% of whom are not nationals of the country), Qatar will really have to up its game if they can successfully host an event as big as the world cup.

Unfortunately, although the cruise ship-hotel idea is a good one and will go some way to help, a lot more will have to be done. It is expected that 400,000 tourists will go to Qatar to watch the world cup (that’s a quarter of their population landing on their doorstep in the space of a few weeks) and no matter how big the cruise ships are, they aren’t going to house that many people! Even if some of the bigger liners got involved, with average capacities of around 3,000 – 3,500 people, they would need over 100 ships to fit everyone in!

It is likely that the way forward will be a combination of temporary accomodation, new hotels and cruise ships but no doubt many cruise lines will be happy to help make this event a successful one.


About Author

Martin has worked in the travel industry for the past 12 years, starting as a tour operator selling luxury 5* holidays and becoming a cruise specialist for Cruise 1st in 2008.

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