I took a break from the investing buzz world and fly thousands miles to Doha, Qatar for a week of World Cup adventure in the second week of the tournament.
So many first time for this World Cup, not only it’s the first Arabic country hosting it, and probably the first time where all stadiums are within reach in 1 city only. You can literally go from one stadium to another within 2 hrs.
It is also the most expensive World Cup ever, by a mile. It’s reported that the country spent $220B for this world cup, building stadiums, infrastructure…etc along with it. The last World Cup, which was already the most expensive one then, was “just” about $12B+ spent by Russia. It’s safe to say that this record by Qatar will not be broken by any country any time soon.
Why did Qatar host the World Cup? Main reason is that they can. As one of the richest places on earth, the Arabic country wants to show the world its ability, and its power to be able to pull off a mission impossible. It wants to use sport to show the world they are one of the major powers in the world. They did everything they could, from the international acclaimed Qatar airways, new accommodations, brand new metro systems, dedicated staff and volunteers…….they only forgot one thing: to train a better team for good performance on the field. Another first that Qatar achieved in this World Cup, was that they are the first host to lose all 3 games in group stage.
So you may ask, Why is Qatar so rich? Qatar has made its first major oil discovery back in the 40s and transformed its economy over the years to energy focus. Not only now Qatar has one of the biggest oil reserves in the world, it also is a low-cost producer. So with the oil price north of $60USD/barrel, the country is still printing money easily. Also, If they stop exporting oil today, the oil reserve can sustain the country’s energy usage for the next 400 years. Besides the oil, however, most people are not aware, Qatar is actually the top LNG exporter in the world. It also provided an alternative energy source for European markets during this energy crisis. With the North Field Expansion (NFE) in the works, Qatar will continue to be the leader in the LNG space in the foreseeable future.
So it’s a pleasure for me to be able to step on this foreign land for a week, where I will most probably not be back in my life time again. The people are friendly, you can do stuff as freely as you can imagine (just without alcohol). Because of its limited history, as a tourist you won’t be able to find a lot of see historically and culturally. There are also very few locals that I can meet during the trip, because of the social structure of the country, most of the workers out there are from other countries, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia, Pakistan…etc The only local people are probably the supporters of Qatar soccer team in the stadium, which I didn’t have a chance to mingle with.
I felt grateful to be on this trip to experience my first World Cup live, especially when my home country Canada is part of this after a 36 year absence. Though Canada was the second team to exit the tournament, the team showed potential and definitely something we can build on 4 years from now when we are hosting it ourselves.
When I came back from Doha to Vancouver I realized the gas price has been down for $10 USD…maybe the world has been slowing down while watching the World Cup?
By Gilbert Chan