The Economic Impact on Qatar from the Upcoming 2022 World Cup

Written by James McQuaid

The World Cup, the largest international soccer tournament, will be played in Qatar this upcoming Fall of 2022. This event, occurring once every four years, features some of the world’s best athletes and the best 32 teams from six continental zones, Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Central America, and the Caribbean, Oceania, and South America. Typically, this event is held in the summer, but due to the intense heat in Qatar during the summer months, the tournament will commence on November 21, 2022 and will end on December 18, 2022. Hosting events of this magnitude can have massive impacts on the local economy, and Qatar is no exception. 

Hosting a World Cup can provide changes to the host nation’s economy through a number of factors. The need for new and improved infrastructure, such as new stadiums or hotels for fans and players, can lead to a substantial increase in government spending. Projects such as these and the games themselves provide a great deal of new jobs, potentially resulting in significantly lower unemployment numbers in the host country. A major increase in tourism centered around the games can also bring about positive economic growth. In the most recent 2018 World Cup in Russia, the total expenditure on the games was 11.7 billion dollars, with 6.11 billion of that money being spent on infrastructure (Statista). This infrastructure included the construction or renovation of 12 stadiums, 13 hospitals, 96 training camps, 11 airports, 3 train stations, 12 motorways, and 27 new hotels. During the actual event, Russia received 570,000 tourists, and within a month some of the regions that hosted games received their typical annual tourism numbers. Sochi, for example, experienced a 90% increase in tourism during the Russian National Team’s unlikely run to the quarterfinals (Rodgers). Additionally, the World Cup in Russia resulted in the creation of 100,000 jobs, causing the lowest unemployment in Russia in the last 20 years (Guivernau).

For the upcoming World Cup in Qatar, it is clear that Qatar’s organizing committee for the World Cup is willing to spend a lot of money on the promise of potential economic improvement for the nation. This committee plans to spend about $200 billion on infrastructure for the tournament, but experts believe that the country may need to spend even more to transform the nation’s infrastructure to fit proper standards. The tourism industry in Qatar anticipates up to 1.5 million visitors for the upcoming games, which is expected to generate 240 billion dollars for the Qatari economy by 2025. By hosting the tournament and expecting a great influx of tourists to watch the games, Qatar hopes to become more of a tourist destination going forward. With greater tourism and notability from this World Cup, Qatar could potentially increase their international profile, causing increased foreign investment. Qatar also predicts that the World Cup will create more than 1.5 million new jobs, mostly in construction, real estate, and hospitality (The Economic Impact).

There is uncertainty, however, about whether these changes will result in long term economic progress. It is not certain that higher levels of tourism and lower unemployment levels will be maintained in the years following the tournament. The construction and maintenance put into the venues for the games may not instill long term economic benefit either if this new infrastructure is not used very frequently. Qatar claims that even without hosting the games, much of the spending on infrastructure improvements for these games would have been done, but the long term effects of this infrastructure remain to be seen (Sky).

Even with the economic benefits of tourism, a sharp increase in tourism for this tournament could cause rising inflation levels in the future. With more individuals present in Qatar due to the World Cup, there will be greater demands for goods, causing an increase in price levels. Tourists from all over the world will cause a great amount of foreign exchange, which will also lead to a slight increase in price levels.

In addition to inflation, the host country does not gain any economic benefit from the profits from tickets or viewership. FIFA directly profits from ticket sales and selling the television rights to the event, causing Qatar to rely solely on fan and tourist revenue outside of the stadium. Due to Qatari laws regarding alcohol, this will be the first global tournament in which alcohol cannot be served to fans, further diminishing Qatar’s revenue and possibly lowering the desire of potential tourists to come to the games (The Economic Impact).

Finally, many of the citizens within the nation are stuck paying higher taxes to make up for the infrastructure that was needed for the tournament. In order to pay for this new or modified infrastructure, the host nation would ideally use the revenue gained from tourism to cover the cost. However, the great number of stadiums, highways, hospitals, training facilities, and hotels that need to be built or maintained typically outweighs the total spending of tourists attending the World Cup. For example, in Brazil in 2014, it was determined that to repay the cost of infrastructure for the tournament, each tourist would have had to spend about $130,000 while at the World Cup (MSG). With this being an impossible number to reach per tourist, the payment for these infrastructure improvements fell on the taxpayers. 

As the tournament nears, the ability to host the biggest stage in all of soccer is exciting for Qatar. With a seemingly positive immediate economic impact, it is still uncertain whether the games will bring long term economic prosperity to this Middle Eastern nation.

Published by Statista Research Department, and Mar 16. “FIFA World Cup Spending by Category Russia 2018.” Statista, 16 Mar. 2021,,and%20renovation%20of%20sports%20facilities.
Guivernau, Albert. “The Economic Impact of the Russia World Cup.” The Economy Journal,, 27 Jan. 2020,
“FIFA 2022: The Benefits for Qatar and Potential Risks.” Leadership and Democracy Lab – Western University,,to%20benefit%20from%20the%20event.
Rodgers, James. “World Cup Inspires Russia to Head for New Tourism Goals.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 10 July 2018,
Sky. “Qatar 2022: What Has Been Built for the 2022 World Cup, What It Has Cost in Lives and How Much Was Spent on Construction.” Sky News, Sky, 18 Dec. 2021,
“MSG Management Study Guide.” Effects of FIFA World Cup on the Economy,

Photo Credits: History of Soccer