It is more economical to stay in Dubai and fly down to Doha to watch the Fifa World Cup in Qatar than book a hotel in Doha to watch the match due to exorbitant hotel rates in Qatar, say travel agents.
On average, it will cost at least $2,000 (Dh7,340) to watch the matches in Qatar as compared to approximately $1,670 (Dh6,130) if football fans choose to book a hotel in Dubai and travel up and down Qatar for a match and return to Dubai on the same day. Hence, they will be able to save $330 (Dh,1200), says Avinash Adnani, managing director of Pluto Travels.
He said high-end hotel costs at least Dh5,000-6,000 ($1,360-$1,635) per night in Qatar plus around $500 (Dh1,835) for a match ticket which costs up to Dh7,835 for a day to watch the match.
But hotel rates range from Dh300 in Deira and Bur Dubai hotels and go up to Dh1,300 in a good quality hotel in Dubai during the World Cup. By including Dh3,000 return Dubai-Doha ticket and Dh1,835 for a match ticket, it will cost a maximum of Dh6,130.
“Hotels in Qatar are much more expensive than in Dubai. Plus, there are plenty of options as well for foreigners to choose a hotel in Dubai. So people do not just get to watch matches at more affordable rates in Dubai, there are more entertainment options for visitors here as well,” he said.
Commenting on the airfares, Adnani added return Dubai-Doha ticket costs less than $1,000 (Dh3,670) on a budget carrier which includes a transfer from Doha airport to the stadium for football fans.
The UAE and Qatari airlines plan to operate around 30 flights per day between the two Gulf countries to transport football fans during the mega event.
He said some of the flights are already sold out while others are also seeing very high occupancy. “Currently, airfares are hovering around Dh2,500-Dh3,00. But they will increase to Dh3,500-4,000 as the World Cup approaches.”
Strong demand for expat football fans
Raja Mir Wasim, manager of Galadari International Travel Services, said there are a lot of queries coming from the residents who want to go to Qatar to watch the world cup.
“Inquiries are mainly coming from the football fans who have bought the tickets and the majority of them are expatriates,” he said, adding that airfares are on the higher side during the opening and closing games.
He said it’s high time to book the ticket as demand is growing with every passing day.
Avinash Adnani revealed that the initial demand came from the residents who wanted to go to watch World Cup. “Now there is an increasing number of interest of people from other countries as well who want to go to watch the match but are interested in staying in Dubai. Demand from corporate clients is also picking up very fast,” he said.