Qatar’s World Cup organizers are pressing ahead with plans to house some of its football fans in temporary villages in the middle of the desert.
The Supreme Committee of Delivery & Legacy (SCDL) issued a tender for the construction of a trial version of the proposed lodgings in local newspapers this week.
A committee official confirmed to Doha News that the tender was for a “pilot fan village” for visitors, who will be able to stay in Arabian tents.
The test camp, which will be near Sealine beach resort next to Al Wakrah, aims to give tourists “an immersive cultural experience” and will be designed with the theme of sand dunes and the sea.
There will be 350 temporary tents and 300 permanent tents which will house a total of 2,000 fans on the 300,000 sq meter site.
The SCDL said it is in talks with other authorities for some of the sites to stay up after the World Cup. It has not yet given an opening date for this pilot camp.
Meanwhile, Qatar’s World Cup organizers are looking at five possible sites across Qatar for establishing these fan villages during the football tournament.
They will have different themes based on the local area, such as heritage; culture; history of Qatar and the Middle East; and sand, dunes and the sea, SCDL said in a statement to Doha News.
Additionally, the fan villages will have on-site entertainment including large screens to show the matches, shops and health centers.
Announcing a tender to build the pilot fan village, Abdulaziz Ali Al-Mawlawi, SC technical manager, said:
“This type of accommodation is a great way to experience Qatar and the Middle East, giving fans the option of a tournament experience which will showcase the best of the culture, traditions and unique landmarks of our country.”
There will be different types of camp to suit all budgets, he added.
Tournament organizers first publicly discussed the idea of a desert camp site for fans in March this year.
World Cup governing body FIFA requires 60,000 rooms to be ready for traveling fans and officials during the event in late 2022.
Currently, Qatar has around 20,000 hotel rooms and apartments, mostly in five-star facilities.
But even with a building boom well underway, experts have predicted that the number of available rooms will not exceed 46,000.
In addition to tents, cruise ships are also being floated as an option. They may provide an additional 6,000 guest rooms for 12,000 fans.
David Goodger, a UK-based director in Oxford Economics’ tourism, previously described the idea of desert camps as a cost-effective way to accommodate fans who were unable or unwilling to pay for five-star hotels.
He also suggested constructing fan zones in the camps to enhance the experience for spectators.
“It’s great weather for camping and it’s an option that I could see working really well,” he told Doha News earlier this year.
A number of established, local tour operators already offer desert camping experiences, typically in large, Bedouin-style tents.
Some, such as Regency’s site at Sealine, cater to those who prefer “glamping” more than roughing it.
Facilities can include luxury, en suite tents fitted air conditioning, king-size beds and even fluffy robes and slippers.