The Qatar World Cup is around the corner and the Fifa frenzy is palpable. Luckily for Dubai residents, the city is geared up for a season that promises dollops of ‘fan’-tastic football rush – whether they decide to catch it here or in Doha.
Those who are lucky and have time to make it to the actual games in Qatar can catch one of 120 match-day shuttle flights from Dubai World Central (DWC) starting from November 20. The flights are operated by both Fly Dubai and Qatar Airways, and passengers who book a flight are allowed hand luggage and can only check in wheelchairs or strollers.
The shuttle flights are expected to increase the passenger demand at DWC three-fold during the Cup, with numbers of passengers going through the airport expected to reach 494,000 during the last quarter of 2022. The airport will operate more than 60 check-in counters, 21 boarding gates, 60 passport control counters for both departure and arrivals, 10 smart gates and 4 arrival baggage belts during the duration of the tournament.
Dedicated bus services and metro feeder link services – the DWC1, F55 and N55 – will operate every 30 minutes between DWC and the Ibn Battuta metro station and the Expo City Metro station. Passengers can also drive to DWC and park their car for free at the airport’s car park.
Recently, the Federal Authority for Identity, Citizenship, Customs and Ports Security (ICP) announced that holders of the 'Hayya' card – a personalised document required by people to attend any of the World Cup matches – to the UAE can avail of a 90-day multiple entry tourist visa for only Dh100.
The RTA recently announced a boost to their public transportation network to cater to the anticipated increase in demand during the world cup. This included 1,400 daily Dubai metro trips, 700 additional taxis, 60 dedicated public buses, and three marine transit means. The plans will cater to 1,200 passengers per hour during the Fifa World Cup in Qatar to the fan zones in Dubai and to those going to DWC to catch their flights.
The Fifa World Cup is expected to be good news for the tourism industry in the UAE. According to the Emirate News Agency (WAM), a recent report issued by ForwardKeys, a Spanish company that specialises in analysing the travel and aviation sector, said that the upcoming tourism season in the UAE is promising.
The report added that the figures are close to pre-pandemic, with the country benefiting from the momentum of the World Cup. Another report issued by Standard and Poor’s (S&P) said that the GCC is expected to receive a huge number of visitors during the Cup, but that the UAE is expected to gain the most due to its geographical location.
In fact, after some number-crunching, industry experts have said that watching the matches in Qatar while staying in Dubai is actually cheaper.
There are three main fan zones in the city. The first official one is the Fifa Fan Festival which will take place at Dubai Harbour. Dubai is one of only 6 cities in the world to host the official Fifa Fan Festival – the others are London, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Seoul.
Visitors can catch all the football action set against Dubai’s skyline and can also enjoy live entertainment by international acts. The first event announced was a performance by Brazilian singer-songwriter Ludmilla on December 5.
The Fanzone by McGettigan’s will also be another popular destination to catch the games. This will take place at Dubai Media City’s Amphitheatre and will also give visitors the option to also enjoy 'Winterfest', the festive wonderland, with their families.
The Fan City 2022 at Expo City offers two venues for Fifa fans – one is the family-friendly Jubilee-park which offers many football-themed activations. The second is the VIP experience at Al Wasl Park which will start from Round of 16 on Sunday, December 3. The Jubilee park will start receiving people from the first match on November 20. The experience promises augmented in-game graphics across the largest 360-degree projection screen in the world.
The T10 format hopes to expand and grow its tribe in five continents around the globe
A win in Wednesday's game will give Bangladesh their second successive ODI series victory over India
Nine-time former Grand Slam champion to meet Thailand’s Peangtarn Plipuech at 25th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge on Thursday
Despite pressure applied on him publicly, he refused to apologise, and was suspended for eight games, forfeiting millions of dollars in salary
Top seed Diana Shnaider makes a winning start
The win is England's seventh in eight Tests under the new management of McCullum and Stokes, installed in May this year