Big drop in arrival of fan

CAN the number of football fans coming to Qatar seriously offer an indication to the brewing success of the world’s biggest tournament? Only a little over 765,000 visitors reportedly landed up in Doha in the first two weeks of the FIFA World Cup 2022, falling well short of the expectations of the Arab country.

Qatar, which became the first Arab country to host the showpiece football event, had expected an influx of around 1.2 million visitors.

There was plenty of action during the group stage as teams like Japan, South Korea and Australia and African sides Senegal and Morocco pulled off a few surprises with former champions Japan and World No. 2 Belgium being shown the door.

“Fantastic atmosphere, great goals, incredible excitement, surprises, small teams beating big teams,” he was reportedly quoted.  “Well, there are no more small teams and no more big teams. The level is very, very equal.

The points of entry have also been very restrictive, too. Visitors to Qatar must obtain a Hayya identification card ahead of travel as it doubles as a mandatory entry visa during the tournament period. But on Tuesday, Qatar dropped this requirement for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.