Football fans are in for a treat as Qatar gears up to host the FIFA World Cup in 2022 with the announcement of some incredible projects.
The country is already committed to spending billions of pounds from 2016 on infrastructure to deal with the hundreds of thousands of visitors heading to the World Cup finals.
However, an announcement from Qatar’s largest real estate developer to spend £3.65 billion on creating a new island for housing 25,000 soccer fans that has caught the eye.
The firm, Barwa Real Estate, says it will build ‘Oryx Island’ off the coast of Doha, which will feature luxury villas, five floating hotels and a water park.
Barwa is partly owned by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund and the island is still at the design stage.
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A spokesman said: “The island will be able to accommodate up to 25,000 people and cruise ships can dock for a week or two weeks at a time.
“The island will meet the short term demand for hotel rooms and can be mobilised for just a short time.”
This isn’t the first big scheme announced by Qatar’s largest property developer, after news last year of their bid to create Golf City in Lusail with 4,000 homes and a golf course.
The firm appears to be cash rich as it has no plans to issue bonds to help finance its ambitious building projects.
There’s still a lot of work to do in Qatar to help fulfil its bold ambition to host one of the world’s most prestigious sporting events, and there are moves to build more hotel rooms and residences to meet demand.
Analysts say that the hosting of the World Cup will bring an incredible opportunity for Qatar to diversify its economy in a bid to reduce its reliance on being the world’s number one liquefied natural gas exporter.
In addition, football fans will also be able to enjoy a huge shopping mall FIFA-themed around the world cup.
Set to open in 2015, the Mall of Qatar will provide retail space covering the equivalent of 50 football pitches and is next to the main World Cup venue.
It will cost £550 million to build and is already attracting interest from many of the world’s leading retailers.
Among its many attractions will be 400 stores and hypermarkets, entertainment and fine dining on a site shared by a World Cup stadium and a luxury hotel.
It will also have its own station on the metro line.