Qatar ponders Airbnb for World Cup visitors

DOHA • Qatar World Cup organisers say they are considering using Airbnb to house some of the visiting football fans during the World Cup Finals in 2022.

Hasan Al-Thawadi, general secretary of Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the body overseeing the organisation of the tournament, said market demands could lead to the room-sharing service being used in six years' time.

"We are looking at Airbnb as an opportunity," he said.

"It's a current trend."

Although it is not as extensive as in other countries, Airbnb is already operational in Qatar.

It is the latest option being considered by organisers in the Gulf for an expected one million travelling fans during football's biggest tournament.

In recent weeks, it emerged that one plan being considered is allowing fans to sleep in desert camps, though organisers have not said how many fans could be housed in tents.

Cruise ships are also expected to take up to 12,000 fans during the tournament, which is scheduled from Nov 21 to Dec 18, 2022.

Thawadi said the possible desert camps would provide an authentic feel for fans.

"Every World Cup has its own feel, its own taste, its own flavour.

"It's an experience, it gives a flavour of Qatar of the Arab world and enhances the experience of any fan."

Organisers, though, have denied that the options being considered point to problems with Qatar being unable to provide enough accommodation in 2022.

World governing body Fifa wants some 60,000 rooms to be made available but a recent Doha conference suggested there were only 21,000 rooms in service currently.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 31, 2016, with the headline 'Qatar ponders Airbnb for World Cup visitors'. Print Edition | Subscribe