Football fans are splashing out on $20,000-a-night superyachts in Dubai during the FIFA World Cup 2022 to watch tournament matches on big screens while sailing on the Arabian Gulf. Clients can push the boat out further with exclusive use of a Michelin-starred chef.
As tens of thousands of football fans plan to use neighboring countries as a base for the 2022 Qatar World Cup, Dubai – less than an hour’s flight away from the footballing action - is expecting a bumper time for tourism.
While supporters without tickets are expected to flock to fan zones, featuring big screens, to watch a slice of the action in the emirate, other fans are splashing out to make sure they can watch their teams in style.
UAE’s biggest private yacht charter, Xclusive Yachts, have reported a surge in interest in hiring outs its fleet of 70 yachts with people clambering onboard to experience the world’s greatest football tournament in luxury.
Its managing director, Amit Patel, told Al Arabiya English that early numbers suggest they will record a surge of 300 percent in bookings during the month-long tournament in November.
The company anticipates taking some 3,000 people out on Dubai’s waters every day during the World Cup with many football fans hiring the firm’s crown in the jewel – a 43-meter superyacht – for a private overnight charter.
With an overnight hire costing $20,000, guests onboard Stardom, a tri-deck superyacht, can enjoy not only a Michelin-starred chef serving gourmet cuisine, but also a Skydeck, five luxury cabins, a private fine-dining area, an onboard bar and Sky Lounge and sunbathing deck.
“We are expecting a more than 300 percent in yacht bookings in November and December mainly due to visitors for the World Cup and Qatar who are also looking for leisure activities in Dubai,” said Patel. “We expect a huge influx of tourists who are coming from all around the world from different geographies and different demographics. We have gotten a lot of requests to watch football on board.”
Xclusive Yachts have also launched a ‘shared service’ offer for groups of fans who want to experience a few hours on the boat to watch games while sailing past some of Dubai’s most iconic sites including JBR, the Atlantis, the Burj al Arab and Dubai Marina.
While more than a million football fans are expected to attend the tournament, many fans are expected to choose to stay in Dubai, where there are about five times as many hotel rooms.
Dubai, the Gulf's most popular tourism destination, is already reporting strong bookings in the fourth quarter, particularly during the four-week soccer tournament.
“We're seeing a lot of demand for the World Cup,” said Paul Bridger, chief operating officer of Rove Hotels, a locally-owned hotel brand operating nine mid-tier hotels across Dubai, in September.
Bridger said bookings in the fourth quarter, which overlaps with Dubai's peak October to February winter tourism season, were four times that of 2019, the year before the pandemic.
Monther Darwish, managing director of Dubai's five-star luxury Palazzo Versace, said he expected his 215-room hotel to be fully booked from October to December, with many guests expected to shuttle between Dubai and Doha throughout the World Cup.
The managing director of private jet operator DC Aviation Al-Futtaim, Holger Ostheimer, said enquiries for chartered flights from Dubai to Doha had increased three to fourfold.
Other private jet companies across the UAE are also seeing a surge in bookings for day trips to Qatar for the World.
Adel Mardini, founder and CEO of Dubai-headquartered Jetex, which bills itself as a “global leader in executive aviation,” told Al Arabiya English that it began receiving enquiries in November 2021 – a year ahead of the tournament - from fans looking to charter a private jet, which costs $10,000 an hour to hire.
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