• World Cup winners


The brouhaha over the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups has obscured the fact that the big winner for both bids will be anybody involved in international hotel development activity.

The two winning bidders, Russia and Qatar, have contracted between them 184,000 hotel rooms, most of which still need to built or at least renovated.

Here in London there was much gnashing of teeth and spitting of feathers at England coming last in the race to be hosts for 2018 (similar reactions could be heard in the US and Australia in particular among the losing bidders) but it is clear that FIFA have been consistent in awarding the tournament in both 2018 and 2022 to countries where there is an opportunity to spread the soccer message.

Parking the corruption allegations against FIFA (and a large multi-storey car park is needed to do this), the result of the bidding process will result in significant investment in transport and tourism infrastructure.

In the case of Russia the total investment in tourism was put at $11bn in FIFA's Bid Evaluation Report. Of the 100,000 rooms contracted for the Cup in Russia, 19,000 are to be built or renovated.

The report stated that of the remaining 81,000 these were "largely" in the three-star category. The reality is that many of these rooms will not be of international standard so a significant renovation programme can be expected for these as well.

In Moscow, for example, the bid document stated there were 27,000 existing rooms contracted that are within 100kms of the city. Cushman & Wakefield estimate that there are less than 11,000 rooms of international quality in the city out of a total of 55,000.

In Qatar, 100 existing hotels and 140 to be constructed hotels are those that are contracted. The Bid Evaluation Report noted that the building of these hotels was underpinned by the Qatari government.

And it is here that FIFA has made its own gamble, that the demand for fossil fuels remains intense enough for both Russia and Qatar to deliver on their promises. If we are to have any sort of reasonable global economic growth it looks a fair bet. And it thus looks a busy time for hotel developers in these countries.

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