DOHA (Reuters) – Qatar is facing a huge oversupply of accommodation during the World Cup. Over the weekend, searches on the official portal found at least 42 hotels with vacancies, and Airbnb also showed hundreds of available listings.
Before the tournament, everyone from Qatar government officials to Qatar Airways leaders and groups of supporters all sounded the alarm that there would be a shortage of accommodation, and the organizers secured extra housing complexes, cruise ships, and even campsites in the desert. However, the reality turned out to be quite different.
Doha rental home owners were thrilled to make good money after hearing the prospect of 1.2 million spectators visiting Qatar over the course of the World Cup. plummeted. Real estate brokers say the impact will spread across Qatar’s real estate market.
Property brokers, accommodation operators and tenants interviewed by Reuters said some rental property owners had demanded exorbitant rental rates before the Games, resulting in a large amount of vacancies.
Many spectators are avoiding the more expensive accommodation in Doha and opting to fly into Qatar on up to 500 daily flights from nearby cities such as Dubai. A Qatar Airways chief said these passenger flights were also set up to accommodate a shortage of accommodation.
Influenced by such trends, a real estate broker said that a room (two bedroom) in a Doha apartment complex, which had been priced at $1,200 per night in early October, went down to $250 a week before the tournament began. He said the price had dropped to
The extra charge is a testament to how bullish local hotel and rental property owners were.
A group of tourists from Italy, who came from Italy one week before the start of the tournament, got stuck in trouble between the hotel where they were planning to stay and the travel agency over an additional charge. Kuhaya Global, the agency, told Reuters that after paying a total of more than $10 million in advances to the seven hotels with exclusive contracts, the hotels will be required to pay at least $550,000 in total two weeks before the Games start. explained that it was requested by
Volkhard Bauer, who leads Kuhaya, who has made large reservations for lodgings to be sold to supporters of various countries and sponsors of the International Football Federation (FIFA) in the past three World Cups, said, “This is the situation at the World Cup. I’ve never heard of it,” he said indignantly.
Bauer said the exhausted party was finally able to enter the room after Kuhaya transferred the amount he was told.
Other hotels have more than doubled the price of an extra bed that they agreed with guests in advance.
Rental housing users in Qatar were also stunned by the advance price increases. A report released Sept. 30 by real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield said rents on long-term contracts rose more than 30% in the third quarter, with some rental home owners paying current rates if they wanted to. In some cases, they demanded that they sign a two-year contract.
Interviews with renters of flats in Doha suggest that the owners refused to renew their annual contracts months before the Games and increased their rents.
A 30-year-old Tunisian woman who lived in a luxury residential area on the artificial island “The Pearl” said her contract expired in October, and the owner told her that it would not be renewed until after the World Cup.
Moreover, the owner made a condition that she leave the furniture when she temporarily moves out before the renewal, so that the room can be used for the World Cup guests immediately.
The woman said, “Basically, I had no choice but to comply,” and is concerned that she may be forced to sign an expensive long-term contract in the future.
(Reporter Andrew Mills)