World Cup to score regional benefits beyond Qatar
Qatar’s hosting of the Middle East’s first ever World Cup is seen benefitting the wider GCC economy, and given the recovery in travel and tourism, we forecast the region’s non-oil sector to grow by 4.9% and 3.4% in 2022 and 2023, respectively.
What you will learn:
- We expect Qatar to gain the most; the preparations for the World Cup and the month-long event itself will drive 7.6% growth in the non-oil economy this year, the fastest pace since 2015. Given high share of long-haul source markets, the travel and tourism sector will spur this rebound. The tournament, which starts on November 20, is set to attract more than 1 million visitors to Qatar, which our estimates show will lift the 2022 total to 2.8mn, surpassing 2019 levels.
- Besides Qatar, we think Dubai, long-established as a regional tourism destination, will see the greatest benefit. Strong interest from football supporters around the world has prompted the UAE, but also Oman and Saudi Arabia, to launch special visas and shuttle flights to capitalise on demand against the backdrop of the host nation’s accommodation shortage.
- Longer term, the infrastructure upgrade linked to the World Cup has the potential to be FDI positive for Qatar, helping fulfil some of the diversification goals charted in its National Vision 2030. Qatar’s strong finances will support its efforts to broaden the economy, but ongoing reform will be equally important given rising competition in the region.
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