TIMES.KY

Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Wednesday, Jun 12, 2024

Reality ends some Qatari dreams of World Cup rental bonanza

Reality ends some Qatari dreams of World Cup rental bonanza

Qatar has found itself with an unexpected glut of rooms in the World Cup's busy group stage, with online portals showing rooms in at least 42 hotels and Airbnb offering hundreds of options for this weekend.

That's a far cry from pre-tournament warnings by Qatari officials, including Qatar Airways' CEO, and fan groups such as Football Supporters Europe of a shortage, which prompted organisers to arrange extra accommodation in villas, apartments, cruise ships, temporary cabins and even desert camps.

Doha landlords had anticipated a bonanza from 1.2 million visiting fans, with numbers forecast to peak Nov. 24-28, but the surplus has caused rents to slump and will have knock-on effects for the wider property market, some real estate agents said.

Two real estate agents, two accommodation firms and tenants say some landlords in the small Gulf state sought unrealistically high rents in the lead up to the event, which has left thousands of rooms vacant.

Many fans have chosen to stay outside Doha and jet in for matches, using up to 500 daily shuttle flights from nearby cities like tourist hub Dubai that Qatar Airways' chief said were laid on partly in response to what he called "a shortage of accommodation".

"We were in contact with half of the city, all the big real estate companies ... They weren't interested," said one accommodation broker who has worked at several global sports events and requested anonymity due to business sensitivities.

The broker cited the example of a two-bedroom Doha apartment that was listed at $1,200 per night in early October. A week before the World Cup began on Nov. 20, the rate was $250 a night, the broker said.

Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, which is the tournament organiser, did not respond to Reuters request for updated availability of rooms or why the anticipated shortage of lodgings did not materialise.

Organisers say a range of accommodation is on offer, from $80 per night rooms on Doha's desert edges to luxury cruise ship cabins, some costing thousands of dollars a day.

For the remaining peak nights, the official accommodation portal on Friday showed rooms available in 42 hotels, villas and apartments, while booking.com showed rooms in 73 properties and Airbnb.com offered 503 "homes".

Eleven days before kick-off, organisers had said there were at least 25,000 rooms available for every night of the World Cup.


PRICE HIKES


In a sign of how the pre-tournament concerns raised expectations among some hoteliers and landlords, Reuters has been told of four instances of late price hikes.

One group of 10 guests who arrived in Qatar from Italy a week before the World Cup started were caught in a row between their hotel and travel firm over a surcharge, their agent said.

Khaya Global told Reuters that in the two weeks before the World Cup it received demands from each of the seven hotels it has under exclusive contract for payments totalling at least $550,000, on top of what it said was more than $10 million it had pre-paid. Reuters has seen invoices for $550,000.

Reuters has not seen the original contract in full, but has reviewed a copy of a hand-written invoice for $40,000 which Khaya boss Volkhard Bauer said was from the Al Mansour Park Inn. Neither the hotel nor its owner responded to a Reuters request to confirm the invoice.

"Never ever, at no World Cup, have I heard anything like this," said Bauer of the last-minute charges. His Khaya agency has block-booked accommodation and sold rooms to fans, FIFA sponsors and other officials at three previous World Cups.

Bauer's weary guests were finally checked in after the agency wired the amount demanded, he told Reuters.

Another hotel, the Waterfront Hotel and Apartments, sent an invoice for $53,700, seen by Reuters, for guests to have extra beds in nine rooms during the tournament, a surcharge increase from an agreed $90 to $250 per night.

Neither hotel nor the owner of both responded to repeated Reuters requests for comment.


EMPTY PEARL


It's not only overseas visitors who have seen costs soar.

While some landlords slashed prices as the tournament neared, many were still trying to secure short-term business at much higher rates, crowding out residents, the accommodation broker and real estate agents said.

Long-term rents in Qatar rose by more than 30% in the third quarter, with some landlords demanding potential tenants sign two-year leases locking them into current prices, a Sept. 30 report by real estate services firm Cushman and Wakefield said.

Reuters spoke to long-term residents at five Doha apartment buildings and two housing compounds who said landlords had in the months before the tournament refused to renew annual contracts and hiked rents.

At The Pearl, a high-end residential neighbourhood built on a man-made island, a 30-year-old Tunisian woman whose lease expired in October said that her apartment owner had told her he would only renew it once the World Cup ended.

He made that conditional on her leaving behind her furniture so he could rent the apartment out as a furnished unit, said the woman, who declined to be named or to identify her landlord.

"I found myself basically forced to say yes to his offer," she said, adding she was wary of committing to costly long-term rates.

But she still needed to rent a temporary apartment as her soccer fan brothers had bought tickets for the tournament.

Newsletter

Related Articles

TIMES.KY
0:00
0:00
Close
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner
×