Business & Industry

Apr 13, 2018

A NEW STAGE FOR THE MIDDLE EAST

Unfortunately, talking about the Middle East is often associated with the idea of war and conflicts, as this pivotal region between East and West still haven't found a situation quite stable since the end of the Ottoman Empire for nearly 100 years

By ALEKSANDR SAVCHENKO

However, it is a mistake to generalize, because throughout the whole region there are countries who found ways of stability and development which makes them wellness and prosperity spotlights and are examples to follow, not only in the Middle East, but also in other regions which seek to overtake social and economic retard.

One of those countries is Qatar, which became independent in 1971, only 47 years ago, after splitting from the Ottoman Empire and having finish the protectorate regime with Great-Britain, begun in 1916. Curiously, some centuries before, the Ormuz Kingdom, which in the 16th century included the Qatar Peninsula, was a protectorate of the Kingdom of Portugal, which, in that era, exercised the dominium in the region after the arrival to India of the navigator Vasco da Gama.

For many years dependent from fishing and pearl catch, the Qatar economy radically changed with the discovery of natural gas and oil deposits since 1939. Although its exploration only began several years later. Today, Qatar has enormous foreign exchange reserves and strategic investments worldwide, through its sovereign funds, of which stand-out the Qatar Investment Authority and Qatar Holdings, which are shareholders in banks and great world companies, in Europe, in the United States, in China and other parts of the world.

Since 1971 the state of Qatar is based under a monarch system, it is a small country with only 2.3 million people, from which only 12% are national citizens and thus rest are expatriate emigrants who work there, thus Qatar enjoying a great regional influence capacity. Given its geographic position between Saudi Arabia and Iran, Qatar plays a pivotal role in the Arab world, sustaining partnerships and alliances with great world leading countries, such as the United States, Great-Britain, France and Turkey.

Being Qatar a real "hub", meeting point between the West and the East, as shown through the dimension and importance of Qatar Airways, one of the best and bigger airway companies in the world, Qatar understood it was the right moment to take advantage of the attraction and fascination over football and become the main site to attract thousands of fans from the region to be present in the world biggest football event: the FIFA World Cup. Its appliance to organize the 2022 cup, proposed in 2010, was the chosen one and the country has made and enormous effort in the stadium, hotels and infrastructures construction so that such event can be a success with world repercussion.

Although being the country with the higher per capita income in the world and high level of human development, due to the big gas and oil reserves, it hasn't been easy to advance at the needed pace so that everything gets complete and perfect in the opening date, which has even aroused several critics from some entities maybe interested that Qatar fails that ambitious objective, which extend from climate specifications, onto the working conditions of the thousands of immigrant workers who find here the jobs they don't find in their own original countries.

However, keeping up this pace and commitment of the Qatari Authorities, all points to, in 2022, may occur in Doha the 22nd edition of the Football World Cup. In this issue, Qatar is building eight stadiums and adopting technology so that these can integrate air conditioning systems in order to lower temperature, which is very high in summer months, but the main action to avoid the heat is being studied so that the cup can be played in November and December 2022 instead of July and August.

For the promotion of the event, Qatar is counting on a communication mean of world reach and great quality: Al-Jazeera TV station. It started as a TV station with a local ambition, it rapidly grew to a dimension and quality levels that place it among the main information networks of the world. It emits in Arabic since 1996 and English since 2006, plus it holds studios in Doha, London, Washington and Kuala Lumpur, regularly being seen by thousands of million people in over 50 countries, with a special dominium close to Arabic speakers, which gives Qatar the possibility to broadcast and promote the Football World Cup 2022 to a global scale and specially in the Middle East region.

After the choices of South Africa (2010), Brazil (2014) and Russia (2018), the choice of Qatar for host of the Football World Cup in 2022 clearly shows a strategy to take the passion for football to new world regions which didn't yet knew or were attracted to this popular sport. But, we must recognize that the interest for football in Arabic countries is already very important, as shown by the participation of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia in the 2018 cup in Russia.

Between the main reasons for the decision of bringing the greatest football event to the Middle East is the idea of using this crowd sport as a factor for the approach and tolerance between representatives of countries who can have different visions of the world and life, but are able to compete sporty and pacifically in a sound way, thus giving the good example for the instauration of intercourses towards the construction of peace.

Qatar has, besides, known how to take advantage of its resources in order to stimulate cultural and artistic demonstrations and also to develop science and technology. Thus, seizing the year 2022 and the organization of the World Cup will be a great opportunity for tourism, leisure, culture and sport in a region that is cradle of the civilization. Besides, the Qatari people is preparing to host tourists, even though there may exist some cultural and costumes differences, but which show a different and interesting picture of this country in blatant progress.

A visit to Qatar and other tourist attractions centers in the region, such as Dubai, in late 2022, seizing the tourist circuits specially organized concerning the organization of the Football World Cup, is a unique opportunity to know this region which is full of history, culture, beauty, business opportunities and open minded.

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