Qatar may house World Cup fans in Bedouin-style tents

Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:39pm EDT
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By Tom Finn

DOHA (Reuters) - Qatar may house thousands of football fans in Bedouin-style tents in desert areas close to stadiums during the 2022 World Cup amid growing concerns about a potential shortage of accommodation during the tournament.

Most of the likely 500,000 fans are expected to stay in hotels and apartments, but thousands could also camp under canvas in desert close to stadiums, a move organizers are holding up as a creative, and culturally authentic, way for Qatar to meet FIFA requirements.

"At the heart of this World Cup is a commitment to showcase the hospitality and friendship of the Middle East. As a result, we are actively researching the concept of supporters sleeping under the stars," a spokesperson for Qatar's World Cup Supreme Committee told Reuters without giving further details.

"With six years to go, all options are still being explored but we are excited by the possibility of supporters enjoying a range of accommodations designed for all needs."

Qatar is also looking at promoting private letting services such as Airbnb and putting up spectators on cruise ships docked along the coast, a government official said.

If fans choose to stay in neighboring countries, such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain - where hotel rooms and alcohol may be more readily available - and fly in to watch matches, that could further reduce a potential strain on accommodation.

Since winning its bid, Qatar has spent tens of billions of dollars on upgrading infrastructure and has built scores of hotels and apartment complexes.

But some projects have stalled including a $12 billion bridge and underwater tunnel link across Doha bay and the building of at least two hotels in the capital.   Continued...

The skyline of Doha is seen at night March 5, 2013. REUTERS/Jacquelyn Martin/Pool