World Cup. The Emirates will give a boost to Qatar.
The Emirates will grant multiple entry visas to World Cup spectators in Qatar. This was announced by the authorities of a country seeking to benefit from the economic spin-offs.
The country made up of seven emirates, including that of Dubai, will open its doors to supporters of the first football World Cup organized in the Middle East. Holders of the “Hayya Card”, sesame reserved for match ticket holders, will be able to obtain renewable visas at 100 dirhams (27 euros), “which will allow them to enter the Emirates several times over a period of 90 days” , according to the official WAM news agency.
The initiative “aims to support the State of Qatar in the organization of the World Cup,” she said. Qatar, which has a population of 2.8 million, expects to welcome around 1.2 million fans during the World Cup, between November 20 and December 18. With limited accommodation available in this small but wealthy gas state, the influx of visitors is an economic boon to neighboring countries.
Last week, Saudi Arabia, which is seeking to reduce its dependence on oil by developing its tourism industry in particular, also announced the granting of visas to Hayya card holders. Saudia, Kuwait Airways, flydubai and Oman Air will operate more than 160 daily flights allowing fans to stay outside of Qatar and commute during the day to attend matches.
In the Emirates, fans are being offered a host of hotel and tourist packages, including a football-themed hotel set to open on the man-made island The Palm, according to local media. Fan zones for watching matches are also planned in Dubai, where alcohol is more widely available than in Doha.
The World Cup could help bring the Gulf countries together after the conflict that divided the region in June 2017 and cut Qatar off from its neighbors for more than three years. Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates had then severed their relations with Doha, accusing it of being close to Iran and of supporting extremist groups, accusations denied by Qatar. The diplomatic and economic blockade imposed on it was only lifted in January 2021.
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