The much-awaited Fifa World Cup, that will kickstart on November 20 in Doha, will be historic in more ways than one. Not only will the Arab world play host to its first-ever World Cup, but it has also laid to rest many doubts that had prevailed over the past few years — as to whether or not this part of the world is “equipped” to handle an event of such giant magnitude.
Well, if there’s anything that the Dubai Expo has taught the world, it is that, yes, the Arab world is ready, waiting and more than qualified to take on the challenge. What’s emerged as an interesting offshoot vis-à-vis the Fifa World Cup is the fact that the irrepressible Dubai finds itself in the hotseat yet again — albeit by extension.
With a record number of crowds promising to mark their presence at the occasion, many will be staying in Dubai over the duration of the tournament, and visiting Doha as and when they need to watch the fixtures that they have booked tickets for (Doha is only 380-odd km away from here!).
Last year, around this time, our city was gearing up to receive guests for Expo; this year, there is a palpable buzz of excitement around Fifa, which is taking place around the corner. Other than hotels already recording full occupancy for the duration of the tourney, this will give a fillip to short-term rentals in the emirate.
With Expo, the phenomenon of short-term leases — which means people renting out properties (residential apartments and villas) for a month, a couple of months, even three or four months — had come into its own last year. It had become so popular that many new residents in the city were also inspired to take the path of short-term rentals for the first few months of their stay, taking their time to zero in on an appropriate long-term space. This year too, Dubai is going to witness the same trend — more so, since many plan to make a vacation out of their World Cup outing and will explore this part of the world, keeping Dubai as their base.
The good news is that, thanks to the Expo, Dubai is well-prepared to roll out the short-term carpet to its visitors, having been there, done that. A recent report, in fact, claims that vacation rentals have gone up as much as 65 per cent, a clear indication of the boom in the housing sector that is about to come this way.
And do keep in mind that with a huge influx of football-loving guests coming — many of them first-timers to the city — Dubai’s entire tourism and hospitality (how timely is it that the Michelin honour came our way this year itself?), and therefore its economy, will get a leg-up. As with anything else, we can expect the city to rise to the occasion with a rousing welcome that only Dubai is capable of offering.
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