Qatar received 600,000 international visitors in November, the first indication of the scale of in-bound tourism during the first half two weeks of the World Cup. 

Ticket sales for the month-long tournament, which kicked off last month, also exceeded the sales recorded in the previous event held in Russia in 2018, according to Qatar Tourism. 

The World Cup was expected to attract roughly 1.5 million visitors and generate $17 billion for Qatar’s economy. 

As of November, Qatar attracted the largest proportion of visitors from Saudi Arabia, at 16%. Around 8% of the footfall came from India, 7% from the United States (US), 6% from the United Kingdom (UK) and 5% from Mexico.  

Argentina, Egypt, Iran, France and Kuwait made up the remainder of the top 10 source markets for visitors during the month. 

Ticket sales 

Prior to opening day, 2.95 million tickets were sold for the Qatar-hosted World Cup, exceeding the Russian-held tournament in 2018, for which 2.4 million were sold, Qatar Tourism said. 

The Argentina-Mexico match in Lusail Stadium saw the highest attendance on record at a world cup match since 1994, with 88,966 attendees, the tourism body added. 

“Outside the stadiums, the mega-tournament has drawn in record-breaking numbers in TV viewership, across multiple markets,” a statement said. 

Qatar is expected to see tourism outstripping pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2023 thanks to an increase in its global profile due to its hosting of the tournament. 

(Writing by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Cleofe Maceda)