FIFA said earlier this month that more than 2.45 million tickets have already been sold, just mere weeks before the tournaments kick off 20 November.
Saudi Arabia will be issuing a 60-day entry visa for all holders of the Hayya Fan ID attending the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, in a bid to capitalise on more than one million visitors heading to the Middle East this November.
“Based on our leadership’s intent to facilitate visiting procedures to the kingdom and the Gulf from all over the world, we are pleased to receive ‘Hayya’ card holders in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” tweeted Waleed Al-Khuraiji, Saudi Arabia’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In order to obtain the visa, Hayya card holders must first apply for the e-visa through Saudi Arabia’s national visa platform, said the foreign ministry. The ministry will then inform them how to apply for the World Cup visa, which can occur ten days ahead of kick off on 20 November.
Those who have been granted the visa can enter and exit the kingdom for the entirety of the validity of the entry permit, with pre-entry to Qatar not required. Applicants must also apply for medical insurance before entering Saudi Arabia.
The latest decision by Saudi Arabia comes as countries in the region gear up to welcome more than one million fans flocking to Qatar for the major sporting event, the first to take place in the Middle East.
Countries surrounding Qatar have been preparing to boost their tourism sectors by utilising the world’s biggest sporting event.
FIFA said earlier this month that more than 2.45 million tickets have already been sold, months before the tournaments kick off 20 November.
Hotels in Dubai have already started bracing for the influx of fans, with a significant rise in bookings as well as its airlines.
In May, Qatar Airways along with other Gulf airlines agreed to launch match day shuttle flights between Doha and several regional cities. This came following the signing of a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the GCC carriers.
This means football fans within the region will not have to stay in Qatar to attend football matches as daily flights will allow for easy on-the-day transport. There will also be a no check-in baggage policy to ease journeys.
FlyDubai will operate 30 daily return flights between Dubai and Doha, as 24 rotating flights will take place between Doha and Muscat under Oman Air.
Twenty Saudia return flights will take place in Riyadh and Jeddah, as 10 Kuwait Airways flights will rotate between Doha and Kuwait City.
Qatar and Iran have also signed various agreements in preparation for the World Cup, with the Islamic Republic offering stays at its Kish island.