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Saturday, November 05 2022
Travel advice for visiting Doha during the Fifa Football World Cup

Some 1.2 million people are expected to pour into Qatar during the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup that begins this month.

With fans coming from all over the world, reaching Qatar on the Arabian Peninsula, as well as getting around once there, remains a concern. Estimates suggest that as many as half a million people may be in the country each day during the height of the competition.

However, fans have a variety of transportation options to choose from ahead of the tournament.

Here's a look at how to get there, where to go and how to move around.

FLYING TO QATAR

Qatar has become a hub for East-West travel, thanks to its long-haul carrier Qatar Airways. Already, the airline is offering tailored flight, hotel and ticket options for its customers. Dubai in the United Arab Emirates is gearing up to have its low-cost carrier FlyDubai run as many as 30 trips a day into Doha to allow spectators to watch a match and then shuttle back to hotels in the emirate. Those flying in will land at Doha's Hamad International Airport, a massive airport that Qatar built for $26 billion and opened in 2014. The airport has plans to expand further in 2022 to handle 58 million passengers a year. Passengers will clear immigration and customs checks before heading out into the city. Note that during the tournament, Qatar won't be issuing normal visas and those coming for the matches must have a Qatari-issued Hayya Card. The card verifies you have housing for the time you're in the country or will travel in just for the match you're watching. The Hayya Card also is required for entry into stadiums. Also keep in mind that Qatar has only one land border, with Saudi Arabia, if you're thinking about driving.

CORONAVIRUS CONSIDERATIONS

Qatar has had strict rules regarding travel and the coronavirus since the pandemic began, but they were loosened as of Nov. 1. Qatar has dropped a requirement for PCR testing prior to your trip to the country, and said it's no longer required to download its Ehteraz contact-tracing app.

HOW TO GET AROUND QATAR

As you walk out of the airport, you have several options on how to get around. Qatar's state-owned Mowasalat transportation company offers taxi cabs at curbside. Major ride-hailing apps like Uber also work in Qatar. Mowasalat runs a bus service at the airport, too. Doha also has a recently built metro service, which will take you from the airport to most areas in the capital. The metro also connects to a tram now running in Lusail. You can rent a car at the airport, though officials are urging those coming to the tournament to take mass transit. On match day, public transport will be free to those holding tickets. Keep in mind that Qatar's riyal currency trades at $1 to 2.1 riyals. There are 100 dirhams in each riyal.

GENERAL TRAVEL ADVICE

MFAT has published an advisory for anyone travelling to Qatar this month.

With the country hosting the high profile event their advice is to take out comprehensive travel insurance and to be aware that there are some customs and laws that could surprise New Zealanders abroad.

"There are serious penalties for acts that may not be illegal or considered inappropriate in New Zealand."

Local cyber laws make it an offense to insult others via social media or online.

"This includes offence caused via online mediums, and taking photos of people without their permission."

While it is unlikely to be prosecuted on scale travellers are warnted that it is a crime punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a maximum fine of QR100,000 ($47,565).

Qatar has strict laws governing alcohol. Legal age is 21 an it is prohibited to drink in public or outside of licenced premises. Modesty and discretion are also encouraged with public displays of intimacy an arrestable offence.

Travel advisories warn pre-marital sex and "homosexual behaviour" are illegal.

The closest New Zealand embassay is located in the UAE in Abu Dhabi.

"Due to the lack of Embassy presence in Qatar, the ability to provide consular assistance is limited, particularly during the World Cup."

- AP with additional reporting

 

Posted by: AT 01:39 am   |  Permalink   |  Email