Qatar expects the 2022 Fifa World Cup to add up to US$17 billion to the country’s economy, lower than the host’s previous estimate of US$20 billion.

Speaking in a Bloomberg Television interview, Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 chief executive Nasser Al Khater also said the Gulf state is set to attract 1.2 million visitors, having previously anticipated a range of between one million and 1.5 million.

The lowered estimate for the World Cup’s economic impact comes as fears persist over Qatar’s suitably as host. Human rights abuses and diplomatic concerns have been levelled against the country and Fifa, while insufficient accommodation for fans has also been another area to cause worry.

In response to accommodation concerns, Qatar has leased two cruise liners, encouraged homeowners to rent their properties to visitors, and set up a system of shuttle flights so fans can stay in nearby countries.

Thousands of rooms in luxury hotels have already been reserved for Fifa officials and players, though Al Khater said Qatar would provide more for visitors. He added that the various criticisms were overlooking the progress Qatar has made, highlighting legislation including minimum wages for workers and setting their employment hours.

The country’s kafala sponsorship system, which tied migrant workers to their employers and meant they couldn’t leave the country or change jobs without permission, had prompted further outrage. Despite legal reform, a report published by Amnesty International in November 2021 claimed that ‘progress has stagnated’ and that ‘the worst elements of kafala’ had resurfaced.

According to a report by The Guardian in February, at least 6,500 migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have died since Qatar was named host of the World Cup.

The tournament will take place from 21st November to 18th December.

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