Qatar's Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, the organiser of the 2022 Fifa World Cup that the country is hosting, has today announced that Accor, the French hotel operator, will manage the accommodation for visiting fans.
The two parties have signed a deal that will see Accor manage Qatar’s real estate portfolio until the end of 2022.
Reuters reports that the agreement will see Accor “provide staff and manage more than 60,000 rooms in apartments and villas scattered across the Gulf Arab state”.
Fatma al-Nuaimi, head of communications at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, was last week quoted as saying that Qatar, which a population of only around 2.75 million, is hoping to attract 1.2 million visitors during the World Cup, which will run from 21 November to 18 December next year.
However, recent figures from the country’s National Tourism Authority indicate that it has fewer than 30,000 hotel rooms in operation.
As such, the use of existing residential housing, apartments and villas, instead of building new hotels, is intended to ensure that the country will have "a sustainable hotel market that does not leave Qatar with excess permanent hotel rooms post-2022," according to Hassan al Thawadi, the secretary general of the supreme committee for delivery and legacy.
The partnership is not Accor’s first dealing with Qatar. In 2019, it replaced the Dubai-based airline Emirates as the principal partner and shirt sponsor of the Qatari-owned French soccer giants Paris Saint-Germain in a three-year deal worth $147.5 million.
Qatar 2022's Accor partnership follows the Chinese dairy giant Mengniu having been announced as a sponsor of the tournament this week, that deal having been agreed with Fifa.
The former English soccer player and international sporting icon David Beckham has also recently been brought on board as an ambassador for the tournament in a 10-year deal worth £150 million ($206 million).
That lucrative deal – along with many before and indeed the awarding of the World Cup to Qatar in the first place – was met with criticism due to the country’s alleged record of human rights abuses.