An overwhelming majority of residents in the region support the idea of Dubai hosting the 2024 Summer Olympics, according to a study.
In December 2012, a top official of the UAE’s National Olympic Committee confirmed Dubai will bid for the 2024 Summer Olympics as soon as the government gives the go ahead.
A YouGov poll, in the days following the announcement, examined the views of residents across the region and their thoughts about the possibility of the Summer Olympics coming to Dubai.
Overall, 72 per cent of all respondents agree that it is a good idea for Dubai to host the Olympics (rising to 75 per cent for UAE residents).
The majority of respondents feel an Olympic Games held in Dubai will not only have a positive impact on the world’s perception of the Middle East (76 per cent) and Dubai (80 per cent) but also on the world’s perception of Muslims (67 per cent).
The majority of respondents feel Dubai already has the capability to host the Olympics, especially in terms of infrastructure (78 per cent) and expertise (68 per cent). Three-quarters of respondents also agree Dubai is the safest place in the Middle East for the Olympics to be held, the poll said.
Nevertheless, an obvious concern about hosting a sporting event in Dubai is the summer heat and 39 per cent of respondents feel it would be acceptable to postpone the Olympics until later in the year, compared to 35 per cent who do not. However, amongst UAE residents, over two-thirds (69 per cent) feel the games should be pushed to later in the year when the weather is cooler.
Respondents think the key benefit of hosting the Olympics in Dubai is that it will be a ‘boost to the UAE’s economy’. In addition, respondents feel the Olympics will increase tourism, community spirit and encourage participation in sports (at present 30 per cent of respondents state they never participate in sports and 43 per cent never attend live sports events), the study said.
However, 69 per cent of respondents watch sports on TV or online at least occasionally and more than two-thirds of respondents viewed the 2012 London Olympics (on TV or online).
Over half (52 per cent) of respondents say they would be interested in attending the Olympics if they were held in Dubai, with 29 per cent disagreeing. The majority (81 per cent) agree hosting the Olympics in Dubai would make the event easily accessible to Middle East residents.
Other cities that have expressed an interest in bidding for the 2024 Olympics include Durban (South Africa), Casablanca (Morocco), Paris (France), Berlin (Germany) and Doha (Qatar). Qatar could be seen as a rival for bringing the Olympics to the Middle East, but when respondents are asked if Qatar or Dubai would do a better job of hosting the Olympics, 56 per cent of Middle East respondents say Dubai, 13 per cent state Qatar and 32 per cent say there would be no difference, the study said.
Finally, it is encouraging to see how much optimism respondents across the region have, with 71 per cent expressing the view that it is likely that Dubai will win the bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
The survey was conducted using the YouGov Online Panel and all questionnaires were completed between the December 12 and 17. The results are based on a total sample of 2,018 respondents (1,127 from the GCC (including 151 from UAE), 486 from North Africa and 455 from the Levant). The YouGov panel is broadly representative of the online populations within the region, the firm said.
Copyright 2019 Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group