A fleet of 40 traditional dhow boats are being renovated for tourists in Qatar as the country prepares to host the 2022 World Cup.
The excursion boats once used for pearl diving, fishing and transporting goods are to take off from the Doha’s central Dhow Harbour, today a key landmark of the Qatari capital marked by a prominent clamshell monument.
The country’s tourism authority says the restorations, set to be ready by October 2021, will preserve the boats’ authentic traditional exteriors while adding facilities for a more fun trip out on the water and solar power to replace fuel.
The city also wants to modernise its harbours and jetties as part of major efforts to spruce up its infrastructure for the expected onslaught of visitors during the 2022 FIFA World Cup football tournament.
Traffic on the Corniche waterfront promenade leading from the harbour, and at other popular locations in Doha, is notoriously congested. But Qatar has also been building a new metro system especially for the football world’s biggest event.
Five of the eight stadiums being used for the tournament will be reachable on the new network. Two of the stadiums have already opened.
FIFA has been trumpeting the fact that none of the stadiums are more than 55km apart, making it possible for fans to attend two matches in one day.
FIFA has also confirmed that there will be designated fan zones during the tournament. And possibly the most important detail for football fans: alcohol will be served inside these zones.
Since about 80% of hotel rooms will be occupied by FIFA during the tournament, Qatar will be laying on cruise ships, among other things, for tourists to sleep in. There will even be the option of sleeping in the desert – or if that sounds a bit extreme, you can always go there on a day trip instead.
Qatar’s announcements of new tourist infrastructure have been marred by human rights issues surrounding the conditions of migrant workers during construction work ahead of next year’s world cup.
British newspaper The Guardian has said that 6,500 migrant workers from five Asian countries have died in Qatar since the country was awarded the World Cup in 2010.
There have been calls to boycott the Qatar World Cup while the host nation has said reforms have taken place and the deaths are not excessive given the size of the workforce from those countries. – dpa