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Report: Qatar 2022 visitor numbers fall short of expectations at 765k

World Cup host had hoped for 1.2m international visitors for soccer showpiece.

9 December 2022 Ed Dixon

Getty Images

  • Qatar spokesperson says “wave of new visitors” have arrived ahead of quarter finals
  • Tournament registers 1.33m ticketholders and 3.09m tickets sold
  • Cumulative stadium attendance at first 52 matches hits 2.65m

Qatar welcomed just over 765,000 visitors during the first two weeks of the Fifa World Cup, according to Reuters, well short of the country’s ultimate target of 1.2 million for the month-long tournament.

The Gulf state had initially expected a range of between one million and 1.5 million visitors, before Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 chief executive Nasser Al Khater settled on the 1.2 million figure in June.

While soccer’s showpiece event still has nine days left to run, a surge in visitors seems doubtful given there are only eight teams and eight matches remaining in the 64-game tournament that kicked off on 20th November.

The peak period for international visitors will likely have taken place during the busy group stages, when 32 teams were playing four matches per day. However, as the business end of the World Cup approaches, more foreign fans could descend on Qatar for high-profile fixtures. Reuters adds that Qatar has lifted entry restrictions for nationals and residents of fellow Gulf states.

“With over a week of competition still to go, a wave of new visitors has started arriving from the nations that made it to the quarter finals,” a Qatar 2022 official told Reuters.

The organisers’ report, which was obtained by Reuters, stated that the first 17 days of the World Cup saw 765,859 international visitors come to Qatar, more than half of whom had now left the country.

The 7th December report from the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) also registered 1.33 million match ticketholders and 3.09 million tickets sold across the eight stadiums in Qatar for the tournament.

Cumulative stadium attendance at the first 52 matches was 2.65 million, the document added.

In June, Qatar predicted the World Cup would generate US$17 billion for its economy, lower than the previous estimate of US$20 billion.

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