Doha, 25 January 2024 - With the kick-off of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023, global attention has turned towards the State of Qatar as a distinguished tourist and commercial destination, as this sport event is an opportunity to showcase the charm and diversity that Qatar offers to the world, allowing visitors to explore its magnificent tourist landmarks and unique commercial facilities.
In this context, a report by Iraqi Al Sharqiya TV channel highlighted the heritage Souq Waqif, located in the heart of the Qatari capital Doha, which has become hotspot for fans to meet.
The report added that Souq Waqif has been one of the most attractive areas for the fans of the teams participating in the continental tournament. The souq has transformed into a square where chants of various languages are heard, while fans wave different flags.
The report continued to say that Souq Waqif, the popular market that has gained fame worldwide, is open around the clock and throughout the week to welcome the fans that visit this beautiful heritage landmark designed in the local traditional architectural style. It pointed out that in recent years, Qatari government have been keen on renovating the market by restoring old buildings and constructing new ones, while preserving the identity of the old places and their authentic heritage spirit.
In turn, presenter of "Doha Asia" program on Abu Dhabi Sports TV Mohammed Al Ahmed continued his field tours of Qatar's prominent landmarks, coinciding with the ongoing events and activities of the Asian Cup. This time, the spotlight was on the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) and its collections.
Al Ahmed initiated a new episode by saying that every place in Qatar is distinctive and beautiful, deserving exploration to discover its details more and more, noting that today, another special place is explored, which is the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha.
He further noted that the museum building is inspired by the Ahmad Ibn Tulun Mosque in Cairo, designed by a Chinese-American architect I. M. Pei, who was nearly 90 years old when he began designing the museum, proving that creativity knows no bounds." Al Ahmed pointed out that the building was inspired by the Sabil, or ablution fountain in Ahmad Ibn Tulun Mosque, serves as a model blending traditional Islamic designs and patterns, such as domes and arches, with modern architecture, resulting in the museum's splendid appearance. The program also highlighted the contents of the museum, showcasing various collections.
In his article published by Al Roya Newspaper of Oman, Omani sports journalist Mohammed Al Alyan said that the tournament hosted by Qatar, the capital of Arab, Asian, and global sports, succeeded even before it kicked off. This success was attributed to the fantastic atmosphere and more than wonderful organization, creating a beautiful tournament that brought together the entire continent with one heart and sportsmanship. He highlighted the vast and global facilities, luxurious and legendary stadiums, diverse hotels, various transportation options, tourist sites, entertaining programs, a winter football atmosphere, and a noticeable fan attendance from across Asia and beyond.
He emphasized that Qatar has become the heart of global sports and an exemplary model, particularly in sports, with the strong presence of professional players from their respective national teams and Europe's strongest and most prestigious clubs. These players added a distinctive flavor to the tournament in terms of technical, popular, marketing, and media aspects.
Al Alyan further said that Qatar has now become a country that competes with global capitals and cities in hosting tournaments and other sport events, comparable to cities like London, Paris, Madrid, Berlin, Rome, Lisbon, Beijing, Tokyo, and others.
In another context, the Saudi website Alsharq with Bloomberg said in a report that the passion for football drives many fans to sacrifice time, effort, and money to enjoy the widely popular game and support their national teams, a sentiment clearly evident during the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023.
The report titled "How Much Fans Pay to Attend AFC Asian Cup Qatar?" quoted HE Minister of Sport and Youth and Chairman of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 Organizing Committee Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Thani as saying that ticket sales exceeded 1,200,000 while the attendance reached 620,000.
According to a source from the Saudi Arabian Football Federation said in exclusive statements that fans were transported via flights from Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam, and that the federation covers all expenses for the fans throughout their stay to support their national team, the report said.
The report also quoted the Director of Communication in the Saudi Federation Faisal Al-Tuwaiher as saying that Saudi fans are strongly present at the AFC Asian Cup, and they have their impact, noting that Saudi fans are always widespread in tourist and commercial sites in Qatar.
For his part, Managing Director of the tournament's Local Organising Committee (LOC) and Secretary-General of the Qatar Football Association (QFA) Mansour Al Ansari said that Qatar is currently considering attracting more foreign professional players.
In an interview with Al-Sharq TV within "Aswaq Al-Sharq" program, he underlined that the AFC Asian Cup witnessed a massive attendance from neighboring and Arab countries, a success built on the legacy left by the success of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, contributing significantly to the local economy.
Al Ansari also pointed out that if Qatar does not win the bid to host the Olympics, there are phased plans, including hosting the AFC U23 Asian Cup qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympics. In case of any opportunity to host an event, the possibility of accepting it will be studied to gain more experience, he added He noted the significantly positive impact of hosting major sporting events in Qatar, which succeeded in changing the general perception of the Middle East, particularly Arab countries, by hosting the World Cup, adding that the fan attendance in the AFC Asian Cup 2023 exceeded expectations, providing a positive promotion for Qatar through football.