Views /Opinion

The FIFA World Cup - an economic boom that will continue to 2030 and beyond

Henrik Christiansen

17 Jul 2022

This year’s FIFA World Cup will be the first time the tournament has ever been held in the Middle East. With less than four months to go, Qatar is gearing up to roll out the red carpet to millions of new visitors, with businesses like ours supporting the event’s delivery. Qatar has invested a great deal in the mega-event, including upgrading local infrastructure and increasing the number of hospitality venues. 

The World Cup – a truly global event that will focus billions of eyes on Qatar – will generate an economic boom and legacy like no other. It will not only a create a financial boost for Qatar in terms of GDP, but will place this wonderful, thriving, and diverse nation on the global stage. 

Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Committee for Delivery and Legacy, previously anticipated that the economic contribution from the event would be around QR72.8bn ($20bn) – a huge boost for Qatar’s national economy. To put that in context, that’s approximately 11% of Qatar’s GDP in 2019, prior to the onset of the pandemic. This economic boost will benefit several sectors, including hospitality, tourism, and infrastructure.

In addition to building World Cup stadiums, Qatar has been investing — and continues to invest — in infrastructure upgrades. Given Qatar’s strategic location, it has positioned itself as a global gateway and a major international transport hub between East and West. Development of airports, as well as a more extensive metropolitan network, along with upgraded roads and emerging cities will serve the country well in the future – both in terms of attracting new investment and new visitors.

Qatar News Agency recently reported that direct financial revenues from the FIFA World Cup are predicted to be QR8bn ($2.2bn), while long-term economic revenues from 2022 to 2035 are estimated to be QR9.9bn ($2.7bn), with strong tourism revenues expected to flourish during the World Cup and beyond.

As in previous World Cups, the Qatar World Cup has accelerated previous government projects for urban development and economic diversification, especially those related to the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV). 

The boost that the 2022 World Cup will bring to the construction market won’t be over once the champions take home the trophy. Construction projects from recent years, fuelled by long-term planning for Qatar’s transformation, will continue to impact the professional services industry. The Facilities Management (FM) sector is already booming with more and more buildings requiring FM, security, maintenance, and landscaping. 

According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, an international construction consultant, Qatar’s construction market will be valued at QR280.21bn ($76.98bn) by 2026, setting its average annual growth at 10.54% for the period from 2021-2026. Estithmar Holding is investing in a modern method of construction with a modular construction facility that will reduce construction-related emissions by 45%. This will ensure sustainable business growth and ready the company to be compliant with Qatar’s climate goals. 

Qatar has committed to be net-zero by 2050. Diversifying the economy away from petrochemicals will encourage spending on construction-related projects as well as investment in sustainable energy and related infrastructure. 

The Qatar National Environment and Climate Change Strategy (QNE) which is one of the main pillars for achieving Qatar National Vision 2030, and compatible with the 17 Sustainable Development Goals endorsed by the United Nations, is the country’s climate change action plan designed to achieve a 25% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

The QNV 2030 is going to be a real driver of both the economy and of development over the next few years. As Chairman of the Qatari Businessmen Association Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani highlighted, Qatar will be resilient to a recession given continued implementation of projects related to the QNV 2030. 

Undoubtedly, hospitality and tourism will benefit from the tournament, but this effect will continue long after the event, given the positive impression visitors will experience of Qatar hospitality and the unique tourist attractions - impacting future tourism numbers. 

The World Cup this year is a vital milestone for Qatar’s continued economic diversification, building a powerful and resilient economy that diversifies into new industries including hospitality, leisure, and tourism. 

In addition to investment in healthcare, professional services, and modular construction, Estithmar Holding is also taking part in Qatar’s post World Cup focus on tourism. Al Maha Island will be an avant-garde entertainment and leisure destination set to transform Qatar’s tourism offering. 

The world-class project in collaboration with Qatari Diar and Qatar Tourism Authority, will comprise of Lusail Winter Wonderland, Nammos Beach Club, High End Dining District with six of the best internationally acclaimed restaurants and a 3,000-seat concert venue. The island will offer something for everyone. 

For us at Estithmar, we are committed to being a vital part in delivering Qatar’s future tourism landscape. That means delivering a world-class event and hospitality spaces that appeal to regional and global tourists. The World Cup is the best possible springboard for that. 

Qatar’s tourism sector has huge potential, and Al Maha Island is an example of how the private sector is adapting to its fast growth. By leading this project, we are proudly becoming part of Qatar’s legacy.

With the World Cup, Qatar will be able to showcase its expertise and experience in staging international sporting events. This will increase confidence in doing business with Qatar in a variety of fields and create opportunities for Qatari businesses to export their knowledge, particularly in infrastructure and tourism.