Qatar's Barwa Group Unveils Plans For Island To House World Cup Fans
Qatar unveiled plans to build a $5.5B island "off the coast of Doha with floating hotels" to house football fans "expected to flock to the country" for the 2022 World Cup, according to Doherty & Menon of REUTERS. Plans for Oryx Island, which would feature luxury villas, a water park, and five floating hotels using cruise ships, "were unveiled by Qatari developer Barwa Real Estate, part-owned by Qatar's sovereign wealth fund." Barwa's CEO Abdulla al-Subaie said that "the hotels would be able to house as many as" 25,000 football fans. Subaie said, "We anticipate that there will be a short-term demand for hotel rooms, so maybe it is not wise to offer all these hotel rooms for only a short time. Cruise ships can be docked for one week, two weeks. It can be mobilized and demobilized for a short time" (REUTERS, 5/27). In N.Y, Tim Falconer wrote Barwa said that the Oryx Island "will use electrical vehicles, water taxis, ferries and private boats to transport visitors." The Oryx Island project is slated for completion in seven to eight years time. Estimates "on how much Qatar and the wider region will benefit from one of world’s most popular sports events vary," but the country is expected to spend at least $100B on infrastructure such as sports stadiums, hotels and transport. It is already "reaping the economic benefits of this with GDP expanding by 6.6% last year" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 5/27). INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL's Mark Baber reported Barwa "has denied its proposed Oryx Island & Gulf Resort projects, widely reported as planned to house World Cup fans, are in any way related to projects for the 2022 World Cup." A Barwa spokesperson said, "The Oryx Island & Gulf Resort are projects proposed by Barwa Real Estate in the waters of the Arabian Gulf to support the economy diversification plans in Qatar and not in any way related to the projects of the World Cup 2022" (INSIDE WORLD FOOTBALL, 5/28).