The curtain has fallen on the World Cup 2022 hosted by Qatar. It was the best version of a World Cup in terms of efficient organisation, standard of facilities, entertainment and honest competition. Thanks and appreciation are due in abundant measure to Qatar, an Arab Gulf country that was able, in a matter of a few years, to establish luxurious stadiums and provide the requisite infrastructure for those who came to Doha to partake of cultural and artistic activities while appreciating Qatari tolerance, love and respect for everyone’s customs and traditions, except those that breach the nation’s religious beliefs.
I wonder how much effort, money and skill that Qatar needed to market itself as sporting destination at the global level before Fifa itself stepped in as the organizer of this event? It truly succeeded in defining and marketing itself on the global level, culturally, economically, and on the tourist level as well.
While the cost of hosting the World Cup has been immense, Qatar has demonstrated to everyone that it is gigantic in its visionary thinking as a destination for sports, education, logistics, construction, as well as an appealing place to live and work for millions of expatriates from across the world. The World Cup fixtures itself attracted millions of fans from across five continents who came to this country to watch and enjoy international matches, and learn about its people, culture and everything that exists in it.
Many people do not know much about the Gulf countries and their economic, cultural, social and sports conditions. But their presence in the region on the occasion of the World Cup gave them an opportunity, especially the youth, to learn about the Gulf countries, their peoples, customs, traditions, and love and tolerance towards people of all faiths and backgrounds.
And if a study is conducted by us, for example, on the extent of the knowledge of the peoples of Latin America and Africa who competed during that tournament to reach the region and their knowledge of it, the results will surprise us about their ignorance about us. This is what we can also conclude if we ask questions to Gulf citizens about the extent of their knowledge and understanding of the conditions of large and small countries located in Latin America, with which we are similar in shapes, descriptions, and other matters.
This World Cup has strengthened the status of the State of Qatar and the region in the global arena, whether today or beyond, at the sports, tourism and cultural levels, at a time when Qatar will soon celebrate that it has become the capital of Arab tourism for the year 2023, according to the decision of the Arab Tourism Organisation at its recent meeting in Cairo. And therefore, it will be a destination for many Arabs who will come to find out about the developments it witnessed in building majestic stadiums, its markets and its commercial centers.
Millions of people followed the World Cup event hailed as the best to date. Many of them believe that Qatar displayed tolerance, courtesy and generous hospitality in front of every visitor who set foot in the country, repudiating the falsehoods spread during the past twelve years.