As part of the country’s ongoing effort to increase tourism, airline passengers with lengthy layovers at Doha’s main airport have been urged to visit Qatar during their time there. Passengers are unable to leave the transit zone, even for a short time, as the nation prepares to host the 2022 World Cup. The capital’s tourist attractions and the World Cup 2022 atmosphere are off limits to them.
Only those with match tickets—the ID card that grants entry to Qatar—are eligible to purchase one until the end of December. All other travellers are prohibited. Humphrey Wilson had intended to spend the night in the capital of Qatar and visit friends. He planned a daytime flight from Johannesburg to London with a 15-hour overnight layover at Doha’s Hamad International Airport.
He commented, ‘Everything sounded really civilised. We planned to eat supper with several friends over the course of the night, then relax before boarding the aircraft the next morning’. But once Mr. Wilson had secured tickets for himself and his wife, he learned that Qatar had become the first World Cup host country to forbid visitors during the competition. ‘Before making a reservation, we made sure we were qualified for admission without a visa and that the [Covid] testing restrictions will be eliminated as of November 1’.
He declared, ‘Nowhere did we see this Hayya card foolishness. I didn’t realise it till my buddy from Qatar mentioned it to me’. Although Fifa has started selling thousands of them, no match tickets were offered when he made the trip reservation. When Mr. Wilson asked about altering the reservation to shorten the journey time, he was informed that it would cost hundreds of pounds. At the airport’s transit hotel, rooms were going for £200.
The Qatari government, he claimed, is ‘enacting all these regulations while bilking us’. Mr. Wilson remarked that ‘with 15 hours, we killed time everywhere we could’ on the link day and night. ‘The seats after getting off the plane and before transfer security checks were dead quiet. We were there for a nice couple of hours despite their attempts to eject us. Charging sockets were available’.
The couple inquired about staying in one of the airport’s paid lounges, but all six of the recliners were taken. ‘ At the food court, we then enjoyed a delicious meal. Another entertaining activity, and a wonderful location to spend some time working on a laptop’. Airport traffic was heavy. It was suggested that we utilise the complimentary ‘Quiet Room’ to sleep. These provide fixed recliners in the sunbathing style and give some level of comfort, although it would be much better if they were fully flat, allowing one to sleep on their side.
For this reason, many individuals started sleeping on the carpet directly below them. The rooms are mostly gender-specific (annoying if you’re a couple), but there are some mixed-gender ‘family rooms,’ which is where we headed. It is essential to have earplugs and eye protection; we had them from the aircraft from Johannesburg. The rooms are highly illuminated and not particularly quiet.
‘However, it was a godsend that we were able to sleep for a while’. On December 2, when the group stage concludes, a sizable contingent of spectators, media teams, and officials will depart the nation without anybody to take their place. Lately, the government of Qatar has announced that entry without a World Cup ticket will be permitted.