Qatar is considering building floating hotels and luxury villas off the coast of Doha in order to facilitate the number of tourists expected to visit during the 2022 football World Cup. Plans for the new development, Oryx Island, were unveiled earlier last month by property group Barwa Real Estate.
The new island will cost $5.5 billion, if plans go ahead, and will be able to house as many as 25,000 guests. Football fans flying to Qatar during the World Cup would be able to stay on the artificial island and water taxis, electric vehicles, ferries and private boats would transport them back to the mainland.
If developed, Oryx Island will have five temporary floating hotels as well as three permanent ones and 234 luxury villas. The island will also generate its own electricity and will be equipped with recycling and water treatment plants.
The island, still in its conceptual phase, will be developed by Qatar-based Barwa Real Estate, which is part-owned by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. "We anticipate that there will be a short-term demand for hotel rooms, so maybe it is not wise to offer all these hotel rooms for only a short time," said Abdulla al-Subair, CEO of Barwa Real Estate. "Oryx Island can accommodate 20,000 to 25,000 people. Cruise ships can be docked for one week, two weeks. It can be mobilized and demobilized for a short time."
Qatar is due to host the World Cup in 2022. It is believed that the Middle Eastern country in considering hosting the 2022 finals during the winter period, instead of the usual summer period, because of the extreme hot weather during June and July.