GEORGE TOWN: Less than three months away from the biggest spectacle in the world, Malaysians are already preparing to attend part of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Although the weather in Qatar is expected to be warmer and more humid than in Malaysia, the fans aren’t too bothered.
They also don’t mind digging deep into their pockets just to be part of the quadrennial event, which is being held for the first time in Europe’s late autumn from November 20.
Tour agent Benny Kong, 33, said several customers had already signed up for the World Cup tour packages priced at RM19,888 and RM31,888.
He said the 5D/4N tour packages include airfare, accommodation and match tickets.
“We will be staying in a five-star hotel in Dubai and flying to Doha in Qatar on the day of the match.
“The RM19,888 package will include a ticket for a semi-final match, while the RM31,888 package will include a ticket for the final,” he said.
Kong said many football fans are excited to travel to support their favorite teams.
“There is also the pent up desire to travel with the improving Covid-19 pandemic situation,” he said.
A check with most travel agencies showed that they offer 5D/4N tour packages including hotel accommodation with daily breakfast, transportation, meet and greet upon arrival and a guided tour in English for the first two days.
However, airfare, insurance and tickets to football matches were not included.
A ticket for group matches starts from US$1,000 (RM4,476.50), while a quarter-final ticket costs between US$1,600 (RM7,162.40) and US$4,900 (RM21). RM934.85).
Cynthia Tan, outgoing vice president of the Malaysian Travel and Travel Agents Association (MATTA), said there had been inquiries for the packages specifically for football fans.
“It’s a niche industry. Those who go there are high end customers who really care about football.
“All the flights are pretty full and the package is very expensive. There will be exclusive tours, not the normal vacation,” she said.
Tan said the tour packages offered include airfare and accommodation.
“We estimate the return airfare to Doha to be between RM6,000-10,000. The hotel room rate per night is RM1000. Match tickets and tours will be optional,” she said.
A farmer, who wanted to be known as Paul, 40, said he bought tickets for the Portugal-Germany game during the group matches but decided to cancel the trip at the last minute.
“I was hoping to see Cristiano Ronaldo, my favorite player, and Germany, my favorite team, in action, but canceled after learning that alcohol was not allowed during games.
“In addition, there are many restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
The first match will oppose the host country to Ecuador on November 20.