On Tuesday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Qatar World Cup organizers confirmed that ticket sales for the event were nearing three million. This is in line with the estimate of roughly 1.2 million people visiting country, which has a population of just 2.8 million, over the course of the 29-day event.
The capital city of Doha doesn't have anywhere near enough accommodation for that many visitors, so Qatar has set off on a construction frenzy: low-rise apartment blocks 15 miles from the city center, cruise ships moored in the port, desert fan villages, huge projects in Lusail and Al Wakrah, and the ability to stay in the UAE and fly over for matches.
However, while demand is high for all accommodations, a World Cup that speaks to the "most successful hospitality program ever," (premium stadium lounges that cost more than $34,300 per person) also points to how demand for a room in Doha is much stronger than for a bedouin-style tent that offers no view of the city's skyline.
But a large portion of accommodation in the capital has already been reserved for players, coaching staffs and FIFA officials (24 of the 32 teams will be within a 6-mile radius of each other). With Qatar also looking to avoid the construction of "white elephant" hotels that aren't used after the World Cup, the opportunity for Qatari landlords to profit has been immense.
There's no question that hosting a World Cup or the Olympic Games has always allowed people to take advantage of the situation for monetary gain, but the reality in Qatar is more extreme than any other previous example.
According to a report from the Bangkok Post, tenants are being kicked out of their apartments with only a few days' notice. One woman said that she'd been given a week to leave after staying for two years while paying $2,500 a month. The tower where she lives is now charging $1,700 a night during the World Cup for a minimum stay of 14 nights.
"We felt humiliated," she said. "Leaving home with all our belongings in bags and boxes to go into a hotel room was a disaster."
The stay in the hotel only lasts until the World Cup begins, and then they'll be forced to move again.
Others in various Doha districts have seen their rent increase by 40 percent over the past year, and a Western diplomat told the Bangkok Post that staff demanded higher salaries just to meet rent payments.
Many home owners are planning on leaving the country for the entire month while putting their places on Airbnb for around $2,500 a night.