By Lujain Jo, Associated Press
Qatar has unveiled a 6,000-cabin village built on a car park near its airports for fans attending the World Cup.
The 1.1 square-mile site features a metro station, a bus stop, and a temporary restaurant and convenience store. The area could hold as many as 12,000 people if booked at capacity, officials said.
Artificial green grass covers the walkways outside, with common areas filled with large bean-bag style chairs.
Competing nations’ flags flapped in the strong desert wind and there is a large screen for fans to watch matches.
The brightly coloured cabins, with thin walls, are designed to accommodate one or two people with twin beds, a nightstand, a small table and chair, air conditioning, a toilet and a shower inside.
They will be available for around $200 a night — $270 with board.
Some 60 per cent of the cabins are already booked for the tournament, said Omar al-Jaber, the head of accommodation at Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy for the tournament.
There will be other rooms offered at $80 a night farther out than this site near Doha International Airport and Hamad International Airport, both of which will be seeing flights at all hours during the tournament.
Those staying at the Fan Village can expect a 40-minute commute to stadium sites.
“Most of the fan(s) they prefer if it’s not a hotel, they prefer the apartment and villa,” Mr al-Jaber said, noting those options are managed by French hospitality company Accor. However, those wanting budget accommodation will come to this site and the other for cheaper options, he said.
In the lead-up to the tournament, concerns about hotel room space and high prices for the rooms available have affected Qatar, which lacks hotel capacity for all teams, workers, volunteers and fans at the World Cup. So Doha has created camping and cabin sites, hiring cruise ships, and encouraging fans to stay in neighbouring countries and fly in for games.
Qatar has estimated it will have 130,000 rooms per day for the tournament.
Already, nearby Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has planned for an influx of World Cup fans who want to stay there where their money may go further.
“Now, the shuttle flights option, it’s one of the options for the people who stay already in our neighbour countries and … they would like to just to spend a day to attend the match,” Mr al-Jaber said. “So this is a good option for them in a state of their case.”
He added: “If they would like to come and stay, they are more than welcome, of course, and there are many, many options for them.”
There are still multiple options available for fans in Qatar available to rent, ranging from hotels, cruise ship rooms, traditional dhow sailing vessels and tents, the fan village, portable cabins and caravans, Mr al-Jaber said.
“We have enough accommodation and people still they can come and enjoy the tournament and of course they can choose what they are looking for from the accommodation,” he said.