Doha News spoke to restaurants at the Lusail Boulevard to learn more about the change in the number of visitors, and whether this has impacted business.
Millions of football fans who celebrated in Qatar during the World Cup in November and December were spoilt with choice for tourist hotspots, with Lusail Boulevard emerging as a fan favourite.
In the lead up to the major tournament, Qatar established new sites across the country to supplement existing landmarks, inviting thousands of fans to celebrate with the backdrop of traditional heritage sites in Doha or more modern skyscrapers of Lusail.
The Lusail Boulevard, a main road that stretches from the four iconic Lusail skyscrapers and is lined with futuristic-styled buildings, was among the most popular spots in Qatar for the World Cup, with thousands fans visiting on a daily basis.
Located just a stones throw away from the golden Lusail Stadium, its vibrant flags, endless stream of cafes, family-friendly atmosphere as well as daily street performances made it a hotspot for many.
However, when the final whistle blown, fans back in their home countries, previously pedestrianised roads open for vehicles, and flags taken down, the Boulevard is no longer bustling with noise.
The mass turnout at the Boulevard proved to be a blessing for businesses which noted thousands of visitors per day at the height of the World Cup. However, with a decrease in foot traffic, there are now calls to revive the once-bustling area.
One waitress who works at a restaurant along the Boulevard told Doha News that the business saw a whopping 28,000 visitors during the World Cup, though this has now dropped to around 4,000.
Similarly, workers from a cafe just across from the restaurant said they went from serving around 67,000 visitors on a daily basis during the event to 6,000. In another restaurant just a few blocks away, a manager said that while he was unable to provide an exact figure of visitors, he saw a 80% change.
Similarly, while there has been a clear significant drop, eateries at the Boulevard have continued to attract visitors during the weekend, especially those coming from neighbouring Gulf states.
“Now is also nice, during the weekend it is a little bit busy, but during normal days not too much[…]at the moment now, most [of visitors] are from Saudi Arabia, Oman and Kuwait, they are visiting at the moment,” a cafe manager said.
The restaurant manager noted that while the difference is significant, a more fair comparison would be between the seasons, including summer where people would be travelling more.
He also pointed to the fact that the number of outlets in the lead-up to the World Cup increased without taking into account that the traffic would decrease.
On the contrary, a worker at one store offered a different view, saying there has not been a dramatic drop in visitors and the World Cup served as an opportunity to introduce people to their outlet.
“More people learned about our restaurant and the business is going as usual,” he said, noting that GCC visitors, mostly from Saudi Arabia, are still around.
Speaking to Doha News, one Qatari told said the area may not be as busy as other landmark sites because of its location.
“It’s not near anything…even most of the residential areas around the Boulevard are not complete yet,” the Qatari said.
The iconic Lusail City is fairly new and has witnessed major developments over the years. The area thrived throughout the tournament, with Lusail QNB Station emerging as the most popular among fans.
The station served as a portal for thousands of fans going to the Lusail Boulevard as well as the biggest World Cup stadium.
Now, calls to pump up the area with events are being made.
One restaurant manager used the annual Darb Lusail Festival as an example.
“The Lusail Boulevard has been open for a very short time for the World Cup, it’s still not yet complete, we need some events, some programmes, I think,” the cafe manager said.
Echoing the same sentiment, the Qatari citizen suggested a weekly car show and unique offers at retail stores.
“Maybe host a weekly car show? Or have some unique offers when it comes to retail. Host unique retailers on the Boulevard, not the usual,” the citizen suggested.
While the Lusail Boulevard is still expanding for the public, some retail employees have high hopes for the upcoming summer season, especially since the tournament allowed the world go learn more about what Qatar has to offer.
“I am hoping more visitors will come during the summer, because Qatar is the safest country in the world. If you want to visit a country, you want to visit a safe one,” one barista told Doha News.