Qatar residents could be allowed to use services like Airbnb to open up their homes to visiting fans during the 2020 FIFA World Cup tournament, according to reports.
Speaking this week, Supreme Committee for Legacy and Delivery secretary general Hassan Al Thawadi said the organisation could not ignore the rise of sharing economy companies.
“It’s an option people want to have and it’s an option we’d like to provide,” he said, according to Doha News.
Airbnb, which allows people to rent out their homes to paying guests have become a popular alternative to hotels.
However, it is unclear how the service would legally work in Qatar and other GCC countries where most residents do not own their homes and the hospitality sector is strictly regulated.
Dubai revealed new holiday home regulation in February considered a blow to sharing economy companies. It requires homeowners to meet specific quality and safety criteria for a licence to rent out their property. Homes can also only be listed with a registered operator.
Despite this, a quick glance at Airbnb showed 42 properties listed in Doha for mid April with an average price of $123 a night. This compared to 300+ in Dubai with an average rate of $185 a night.
The service could be one way for Qatar to meet FIFA’s requirement for 60,000 visitor rooms during the tournament.
The country currently has 21,000 hotels rooms and serviced apartment but this is only expected to increase to 46,000 by 2022
The organiser’s have presented several options to fill the gap including said desert camps and cruise ships.
Qatar also told FIFA in 2010 it had secured the right to use thousands of homes during the tournament.
By Robert Anderson
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