Qatar welcomed thousands of fans to the country for the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021™. Some residents even welcomed fans to their homes as part of the ‘Host a Fan’ initiative.

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) launched the ‘Host a Fan’ initiative, enabling households across Qatar to volunteer to host visiting sports fans during upcoming sporting events.

Experience Qatar’s culture through the eyes of a local with SC’s ‘Host a Fan’ initiative, enabling households across the country to volunteer to host visiting sports fans during upcoming sporting events. An expression of the Arab world’s famed hospitality, the first-of-a-kind programme will link supporters travelling to Qatar for major tournaments with locals and residents.

The ‘Host a Fan’ initiative is part of SC’s strategy to provide fans visiting Qatar with a variety of culturally rich accommodation options. According to Project Manager of the initiative at SC, Khalid Al Jumaily, this unique approach will allow fans to experience Qatar’s culture through the eyes of a local.

‘Participants in the initiative, many of whom might be visiting Qatar for the first time, will be able to see what the country has to offer in an immersive manner, and will leave with memories that will reach beyond the excitement of what happens on the field of play,’ said Al Jumaily.

The participation will be limited only to hosts and fans who are fully vaccinated, in line with the Ministry of Public Health’s (MoPH) regulations to limit the spread of COVID-19. In addition, the initiative is completely free of charge. Visiting fans will not be required to pay for their accommodation, nor will hosts be paid for hosting a fan. Locals and residents alike will volunteer to host visiting supporters during upcoming sporting events.

Hosts, however, will be able to choose where fans will stay, and how long their visit will be. Most importantly, hosts will act as cultural guides, showing their guests Qatar’s most significant cultural destinations, and introducing them to local customs and traditions.

According to the initiative’s terms and conditions, one room can host a maximum of two guests, provided that they are related. Otherwise, one room should host one guest. Married couples and friends of the same gender can be accommodated in the same room. Hosts will have the option to determine how many guests they’re willing to have during the sign-up process.

Hosts will receive a site visit from the ‘Host a Fan’ team prior to arrival of their guests to ensure that there is adequate space for accommodation.

Official documentation proving the host is part of ‘Host a Fan’ initiative shall be provided upon host request.

Those interested in learning more about the specific requirements of the initiative can visit hostafan.qa. Registration opened on 25 September 2021 and closed on 12 October 2021. Fans visiting Qatar from 30 November to 18 December 2021 registered their interest in being part of this initiative by signing up on hostafan.qa from 2 October to 1 November 2021.

This is in preparation for FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021™, and the initiative is expected to take place again in preparation for FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

Fans traveling to Qatar must have registered for the Fan ID system via the official portal to be able to enter the country during the FIFA Arab Cup Qatar 2021™.

Rent a Home

Tourists coming to Qatar, especially during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, may take a step closer to immersing themselves in the local culture. 

Discussions are currently ongoing between Qatar Tourism and the Ministry of Municipality to include Qatari houses as an additional option for holiday accommodation for the tourists. 

The Assistant Undersecretary for Municipal Affairs at the Ministry of Municipality, Mansour Abdullah Al Mahmoud, said, ‘Qatar Tourism is making a new regulation to let the people rent their houses to tourists on a short-term basis. There are current discussions between the Ministry of Municipality and Qatar Tourism to make a regulation regarding this. Tourists also come for investments. And I think there will be people who will be willing to rent their houses for the upcoming World Cup’.

Once approved, World Cup visitors may opt to stay in the houses of locals or residents of Qatar, in addition to a plethora of accommodation options, including hotels, cruise ships, luxury campsites, and other regulated holiday homes. 

Qatar Tourism recently issued regulations in the operations of its ‘Holiday Homes’ programme in the country. Owners who rent apartments or villas in tourist areas or standalone villas in other areas were encouraged to apply for a license and undergo a classification process to have their properties rented out to tourists from across the world for a short-term period not exceeding 30 consecutive days. 

According to Al Mahmoud, there are many projects such as compounds and large residential buildings that are being completed to be rented out to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ visitors and fans. In addition, building permits have been increasing steadily.

Upcoming sports events

2022 will be an exceptionally eventful year, not just because of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, but for the several other events taking place in Qatar in 2022, such as the following:

Qatar Open Amateur Golf Championship 2022: Organised by the Qatar Golf Association, the Championship has come a long way since its inception in 1983, when it was contested over a sand course in Mesaieed, to become an international qualifying tournament for the Qatar Masters. The event will be held in January 2022 at Doha Golf Club. Room bookings can be made at the InterContinental Doha Hotel, by quoting QGA-QATAR. dohagolfclub.com

FEI Jumping World Cup: The International Federation for Equestrian Sport (FEI) is bringing one of their most prestigious, world-class competitions to Doha. The event will take place in March 2022. Venue details and ticket information will be available at fei.org

For more upcoming events, see our Events Calendar or the Events and Activities section.


Author: Ola Diab

This feature is from Marhaba’s Winter 2021/22 Issue – M82.

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