Dubai Expo, FIFA World Cup: The engines of growth for GCC
From Expo 2020 to the FIFA World Cup, the GCC is gearing up for a period of unprecedented growth. Add to this the launch of VAT and you have a recipe for success. Historic events of high magnitude such as the Dubai Expo 2020 despite the COVID-19 breakthrough have given significant success to the Dubai Economy. In fact, the Expo is one of the many engines of growth for the GCC and contributed heavily. Expo 2020 Dubai added billions to the UAE economy and produced millions of jobs for Emiratis.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is another big stage and it is also projected to bring significant growth across the GCC. As the first Arab host of the world’s most popular sporting event, Qatar has an opportunity to showcase itself to a global audience. It is estimated that the World Cup will generate $8-10 billion in economic activity for Qatar and the wider region. More than one million fans are expected to travel to Qatar for the tournament. The impact of the FIFA World cup in Qatar 2022 can be seen in the GCC industries, especially real estate.
Dubai is expecting to host more than 1.5 million fans during the World Cup, which is creating a demand for hotel rooms and other tourist amenities. UAE hotels and homestays are witnessing a major upswing before the final kick-off of the biggest sporting event in the region. Experts see at least a 20% increase in room rates, and many expect 100% occupancy during the World Cup.
Property owners in Dubai are reportedly switching to short-term rentals instead of the usual annual leases in preparation for fans flocking to the region for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. According to the media outlet, this is the second year in a row that Dubai has seen demand for short-stay units. Last year’s surge in demand was attributed to Expo 2020 Dubai.
Market sources told the news outlet that this year’s increase will be between 15% and 25% compared to current rates through December.
Residential rents in Dubai have already increased by more than 20% over the fiscal year ended July.
Beyond Dubai, Sharjah has changed its short-term rental policy to accommodate fans wishing to stay in the UAE until the end of the year following the conclusion of the World Cup.
Meanwhile, English football fans in Dubai are booking private jets for the World Cup in hopes of taking them home, The National reported on Monday.
The report states that on December 18, the day of the World Cup finals, bookings have been received for a 64-seat VIP business class passenger jet priced at AED 6,500.
Beyond the luxurious experience, the flight option will also save fans flying between two neighbouring countries from waiting at the airport. Flights depart four hours before each game and return three hours after the game ends.
There is already high demand for private jets among World Cup fans in Dubai as bookings to Doha continues to rise. In Europe alone, demand for flights has increased by 400% since January.
In May, Qatar Airways and other Gulf airlines agreed to offer matchday shuttle flights between Doha and several regional cities. This comes after the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the GCC airlines.
This means that football fans in the region do not have to stay in Qatar to attend football matches as daily flights allow for easy daytime transport. There will also be a no check-in baggage policy to make travel easier.
FlyDubai will operate 30 daily return flights between Dubai and Doha, while 24 will operate rotating flights between Doha and Muscat under Oman Air.
Twenty Saudia return flights operate in Riyadh and Jeddah, while ten Kuwait Airways flights rotate between Doha and Kuwait City.
The FIFA World Cup is not only an opportunity for Qatar to showcase itself, but it is also an opportunity for the GCC as a whole to promote itself to the world. The tournament is expected to generate billions in economic activity for Qatar and the wider region. This will provide a much-needed boost to the GCC economy and create jobs for residents of the region. In addition, the FIFA World Cup will raise awareness of the Gulf region and its potential as a tourist destination. With its natural beauty, rich culture, and modern infrastructure, the GCC is poised to become a major player on the global stage.
With all these growth prospects, the GCC is well-positioned to continue its journey of economic development. The region has a strong foundation and is poised for continued success in the years ahead.