As excitement bubbles up for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 in November,
Francis Chong, vice president of assistance at Collinson Asia Pacific,
says that organisations and travel planners should start preparations to
send their staff, clients, prospects or even customers to the mega
many corporate hospitality packages already sold out, and three million
publicly available tickets on sale, planning a trip to this large-scale
sports event is rife with many logistical challenges considering the
number of attendees descending into Qatar soon.
Collinson Asia Pacific believes that early preparation is key to
ensuring a smooth experience for any company sending its associates or
travel agencies sending their clients to this year’s World Cup with the
1. Know the culture, the laws and the backup plan
Your guests should be educated on Qatar’s more conservative societal
values from its culture to its laws. For example, while watching the
football match, attendees may be inclined to consume a few alcoholic
drinks. Though alcohol isn’t illegal in Qatar, there is zero tolerance
for being drunk in public, and guests should be mindful of drinking one
too many beers.
Many Middle Eastern states also monitor tourists’ social media
activity and may prosecute travellers if they post anything offensive
about the country, religion or culture. In the unfortunate circumstance
that your guests get apprehended by the authorities, they should already
be briefed beforehand on what to do from having a 24/7 emergency line
to reach out for legal aid.
2. Stay alert to crime and unrest
Crime in Qatar is considered relatively low compared to
industrialised nations, but petty crime such as pickpocketing and bag
snatching still occur. Additionally, with the influx of 1.5 million
visitors arriving from all around the world, it could bring a number of
visitors who aren’t so law abiding.
Travellers should practise the usual basics of not displaying
expensive personal items and turning off their NFC tag reader on their
phones to avoid any unwarranted digital transactions. Also, tourists
should be mindful that as with many other World Cup tournaments held in
previous years, the situation may get rowdy if tensions run high among
rival football nations.
Tourists should also readily have a list of emergency contact numbers to call either for advice or to report a crime.
3. Secure transportation and accommodation
Being a small country, it takes only two hours to traverse from one
end of Qatar to the other by car. With its limited land space, it will
be difficult to accommodate the millions of visitors. It’s estimated
there are only around 150,000 hotel rooms available in the whole
country, with 20,000 rooms for teams, journalists and staff already
may have to look for accommodation in neighbouring countries such as
the UAE or Bahrain. Though it’s a short flight away or five hours by
car, commuting back and forth their accommodation and the event venue
will be complex, and will require plans to be firmed up as soon as
4. Stay cautious of viruses and diseases
Mass gatherings increase the risk of contracting medical issues such
as Covid-19, E. coli, salmonella, norovirus, dengue and leishmaniasis.
Travellers should be encouraged to bring their own supply of Covid-19
test kits and avoid eating raw food or tap water, as well as applying
skin repellent to ward off the Aedes mosquito.
Having a list of healthcare facilities such as hospitals or private
clinics on hand is advisable for travellers. Alternatively,
organisations may also wish to consider sending along a dedicated team
doctor. All travellers should also be covered under a comprehensive
travel insurance to ensure medical assistance can be rendered 24/7.