Encompassing a north-running peninsular into the Persian Gulf, Qatar’s total land area is 11,571 km2. For a comparison, Northern Ireland spans 14,130 km2, Moldova is 33,846 km2, and the smallest World Cup host remains Uruguay at 176,215 km2. In 2010, the country had a handful of suitable football stadiums, nearly 50,000 hotel rooms, and ranked 99th in the FIFA World Rankings. So, as you would imagine, it was the perfect host for the second-largest sporting contest in the world, the FIFA World Cup.
Awarded the tremendous event at the end of 2010, Qatar has had 12 years to erect new stadiums, infuse cooling technology across the board, and make the tiny nation fit to entertain some three million people who’ll watch the games in stadiums – as well as all of the teams, coaching staff, media, and medical teams. As you may recall, Qatar getting the World Cup kicked up quite the fuss – just as the brains behind the much-maligned and quickly quashed Super League was – but it’ll be here soon, and there may yet be a silver lining.
Potential to emerge as a top tourist destination
As its landmass enforces, there isn’t a lot to Qatar: its desire to host the World Cup has seen it build several new stadiums, most of which will be broken down and shifted off after the hoisting of the trophy. So, when it commits to a theme, it goes all in. Most places that host the World Cup lean into the legacy, the money that it’ll pump into the economy, and putting the host on the map as a top tourist destination. Given that money isn’t an object to Qatari leadership, it could be inferred that becoming a bigger player in tourism is a goal.
For many, June, July, and August are the months for holidays and holidaymaking, but there’s a reason why Qatar has had to break the status quo and shift the World Cup from these months to November and December. From May to September, the lowest average high temperature in Qatar is 39o, getting as high at 42o on average in June and July. By comparison, the south coast city of Malaga in Spain peaks at around 30o in these summer months. It’s a near-unbearable heat that many tourists simply may not want to endure.
As for entertainment and things to do, those looking to let loose in the evenings as they may back home will find very few chances to do so, but there are many cultural landmarks to explore. These include the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum, the Museum of Islamic Art, the Souq Waqif market, and Katara Cultural Village. Outside of the World Cup, there’s a chance that the hospitality options made available may dry up. Still, there’ll be dune bashing, sandboarding, and camel riding for those feeling adventurous.
Just a short nine hours up the Persian Gulf
If Qatar doesn’t seem like the best fit for a holiday destination in the Middle East, you could still enjoy the landlocked waters of the Persian Gulf from the slightly more spacious nation of Kuwait. Weighing in at 17,818 km2, you can pack a bit more things to do into Kuwait, and you’ll still get those searing heats. From June to August, the average high temperatures tickle up from 40o to 42o, sinking suddenly in September to a mere 38o and then 33o in October.
In Qatar, many will aim to visit the still-standing World Cup stadiums from 2023 onwards, but Kuwait offers a perk of entertainment for those who want to sit in the shade during the hottest hours. It’s possible to be safe and secure while playing classic games at online casinos in Kuwait. The platforms made available to Kuwait have live casino games, table games, game shows, and slots, and all for real money. As they all offer secure and fast payment options, excellent customer support, and mobile compatibility, online casino gaming in the country is one of the more accessible forms of entertainment.
Away from your hotel room or the parasol at the beach, there are plenty of other things to do in Kuwait. If you ever feel the heat is too much, you could go to the Ice Skating Rink in Kuwait City, any one of the many escape rooms found in urban areas, or put the pedal to the metal at Pro Kart and Sirbb Circuit. Then again, if stadium tours are your thing and that’s what would take you to Qatar over Kuwait, the Jaber Al-Ahmad International Stadium in Ardhiya seats 12,001 more than Qatar’s biggest pre-World Cup stadium, the Khalifa International Stadium – but is dwarfed by the brand new 80,000-seater Lusail Iconic Stadium.
The silver lining to the FIFA World Cup 2022 may be that Qatar develops and keeps a bunch of tourist-friendly attractions, but if not, there’s always Kuwait just to the north.