Qatar is to construct a special Bedouin-style desert camp to house thousands of fans during the 2022 World Cup as the Gulf state looks to broaden accommodation for the tournament beyond the limited number of apartments and hotels.
A fan village among the sand dunes close to the Saudi border will house up to 2,000 visitors in Arabian tents, allowing them to experience the desert from close quarters, Qatar’s World Cup organising committee said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We will allow visitors from outside the country to enjoy Qatar and their football experience in an entirely new way,” said the committee’s Abdulaziz al-Mawlawi.
“There will be options for all kinds of budgets…”
Most of the 500,000 fans expected to descend on the tiny country will stay in hotels and apartments, but an earlier announcement suggested thousands could also camp under canvas in desert areas close to stadiums.
Qatar’s World Cup bid in 2010 said it would create more than 55,000 rooms for fans but authorities said in January that only 46,000 would be ready, prompting concern about a potential shortage of accommodation during the tournament.
Qatar is on track to deliver that number of rooms and is also looking at promoting private letting services such as Airbnb as well as putting up spectators on cruise ships docked along the coast.
Some fans are expected 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.
The committee did not say if the desert camps would be designated as ‘fan zones’, in which conservative Muslim Qatar has said fans will be allowed to consume alcohol.
Public drinking of alcohol is banned in Qatar, which also limits the sale of alcohol primarily to luxury hotels.