EXPLANATION: Traveling to Qatar during the FIFA World Cup

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — About 1.2 million people are expected to enter Qatar during the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup starting this month.

With fans coming from all over the world, getting to Qatar on the Arabian Peninsula, as well as getting around once there, remains a concern. Estimates suggest that as many as half a million people may be in the country each day during the peak of the competition.

However, fans have a variety of transport options to choose from before the tournament.

Here’s a look at how to get there, where to go and how to get around.

FLY TO QATAR

Qatar has become a hub for East-West travel, thanks to long-haul airline Qatar Airways. Already, the airline offers personalized flight, hotel and ticket options for its customers. Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is preparing to have low-cost airline FlyDubai make up to 30 trips a day to Doha to allow spectators to watch a match and then return to hotels in the emirate. Those flying in will land at Doha’s Hamad International Airport, a massive $15 billion airport built by Qatar that opened in 2014. The airport has plans to expand further in 2022 to handle 58 million passengers a year. Passengers will clear immigration and customs checks before exiting the city. Please note that during the tournament, Qatar will not issue regular visas and those coming for the matches must have a Qatar-issued Hayya card. The card verifies that you have housing for the time you are in the country or will only be traveling for the match you are attending. The Hayya card is also required to enter the stadiums. Also keep in mind that Qatar only has one land border, with Saudi Arabia, if you’re thinking of driving.

CORONA MATTERS

Qatar has had strict travel and coronavirus rules since the start of the pandemic, but they have been relaxed since November 1. Qatar has dropped the requirement for PCR tests before you travel to the country and said it is no longer required to download the Ehteraz Contact Tracing App.

HOW TO TRANSFER TO QATAR

As you exit the airport, you have many options for how to get around. Qatar’s state-owned transport company Mowasalat offers taxi cabs on the pavement. Major ride-hailing apps such as Uber also operate in Qatar. Mowasalat runs a shuttle service to the airport, too. Doha also has a newly constructed metro service which will take you from the airport to most areas of the capital. The subway is also connected to a tram that now runs in Lusail. You can rent a car at the airport, although officials encourage those coming to the tournament to use public transportation. On match day, public transport will be free for ticket holders. Note that the Qatari Riyal currency trades from $1 to 3.64 Riyals. There are 100 dirhams to every riyal.

WHAT TO SEE IN QATAR

Outside of the tournament, Doha has many cultural sites to visit. The Qatar Museum of Islamic Art offers interesting views of its galleries and views out over the city skyline. Nearby is Doha’s Souq Waqif, which has traditional window displays and gifts for sale — including even a falconry section. The National Museum of Qatar, designed by French architect Jean Nouvel, is a picture of the desert rose. The Qatar National Library is also known for its design. Doha’s Mall of Qatar has approximately 500,000 square meters (5.3 million square feet) of shopping space. There are also seaside resorts and tour companies also offer trips to the desert lands of Qatar.

___

Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jongambrellAP.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *