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Qatar hotels fighting to survive until 2022 WC

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20th-Nov-2020       
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AFP, Doha  :
Qatar has marketed its opulent skyscraper hotels as jewels in its World Cup 2022 crown but coronavirus curbs and a glut in new properties are jeopardising the industry.
As well as keeping out overseas visitors, travel restrictions have complicated staffing preparations just as Qatar's hospitality sector was scaling-up for football's marquee event.
One former Qatar-based hotelier told AFP that preparations had been made "difficult" and staffing was not at levels to ensure properties are ready in time.
"It's a struggle," she said.
One Doha hotel manager said lockdown had forced him to wait three to five months to bring staff from abroad, complicating training plans.
As in much of the Gulf, migrant labour is vital to the gas-rich emirate where expat workers outnumber the 333,000 Qataris nearly nine to one.
Without a large middle class to sustain domestic tourism, Qatar had hoped to expand its hospitality sector ahead of 2022 by encouraging mini-breaks for passengers connecting through Doha on Qatar Airways.
That promotion is currently frozen.
Qatar expects as many as 1.5 million people to descend on the tiny Gulf nation for the World Cup, and in the months before and after the big event.
But the increasing supply of hotel rooms needed for the tournament could hurt operators in the two years before kick-off.

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