The first-ever Match of Champions attracted thousands of football fans, and is estimated to have brought over 5,000 international visitors to Qatar – particularly from the neighbouring Kingdom of Saudi Arabia – and to have generated an estimated QAR 9.6 million* for the local economy.
The large number of football fans that visited Qatar to attend the Match of Champions illustrates the value that sporting events can have for the tourism sector in Qatar, according to a senior Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) official.
Rashed Al Qurese, Chief Marketing and Promotion Officer at Qatar Tourism Authority said:
The hosting of this Match of Champions is testament to the growing strength of Qatar’s position as a destination for global sporting events and its potential to significantly contribute to the growth of the tourism sector and overall economy.’
Supporters of Saudi Arabia’s Professional League champions, Al Ahli SC and Spanish giants, FC Barcelona, were able to benefit from enticing travel packages including air travel, accommodation and match tickets created by the match host, Qatar Airways, and QTA.
Identified as one of the four priority tourism sub-sectors in the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy (QNTSS), sports tourism is defined as that which takes individuals temporarily out of their home communities to participate in sport and recreational activities, whether by competing, watching, or visiting sports associated attractions and facilities. Sports tourists also travel for sport education and sport-related business events, as well as to improve their health and well-being.
Al Qurese added:
We recognise the unique power that sport has in bringing people from around the world together in celebration of athletic excellence. With Qatar hosting a great number of world-class competitions across a multitude of sporting disciplines, we are working closely with our partners to attract international sports tourists to visit Qatar.’
Later this month, Qatar will host the Italian Super Cup (Supercoppa Italiana) final between Juventus and AC Milan. The match, which is scheduled to take place on Friday 23 December at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium (Al Sadd Stadium), is expected to bring an additional boost to visitor arrivals this month, with over 3,000 tickets sold to international fans thus far. The match will mark the second time that the Italian Super Cup will be played in the Qatari capital after Juventus took on Napoli in 2014 at the same stadium.
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