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What is happening in Qatar besides football?

It’s not just 32 of the best soccer teams on the planet and over a million soccer fans heading to Qatar this month.

Some of the world’s most famous entertainment stars are also on their way to the Gulf country, which has announced a series of events and activities to offer visitors and residents more than just football.

Qatar is bursting onto the world stage later this month with an estimated five billion people, more than half of the Earth’s population, expected to tune in for FIFA World Cup matches. With the world watching, Qatar is determined to put on a show.

Dozens of hotel and leisure complexes have been built in the 12 years since Qatar secured the hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup. New entertainment venues, beaches, resorts, museums and restaurants – it’s all part of the package.

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Flags of the participating countries of the World Cup during the Darb Lusail Festival on Lusail Boulevard. [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

There are no less than three music festivals taking place simultaneously while the World Cup is taking place. Fans will be able to enjoy acts like the Black Eyed Peas and Armin van Buuren.

Enrique Iglesias played at Doha Golf Club on Friday, and the same venue is expected to host the Black Eyed Peas.

The Arcadia Festival, with three iconic stages, will attract more than 100 international artists and will take place from November 19 to December 19, one day after the World Cup final.

The event includes a 50-ton fire-breathing Spider and a Heavy Reactor stage with lasers. Meanwhile, Daydream Festival takes over the famous Doha Golf Club and features electronic acts including Tiesto, Alesso, ATB and Paul van Dyk.

Qatar’s iconic Museum of Islamic Art reopened to the public last month. Among the wave of new openings for visitors in 2022 is the Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum 3-2-1.

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More than 1.2 million fans are expected to travel to Qatar to watch the World Cup. Nearly 2.9 million tickets have been sold.

Apartments, hotel rooms, desert camps, villas, fan villages and even cabins on moored cruise ships have been made available to fans coming to Qatar. Some fans will choose to stay in the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Iran, taking “shuttle” flights to watch football before returning without having to spend the night in Qatar.

The country has reported an influx of international arrivals that is currently at its highest point in five years, with 151,000 visitors arriving in September alone. Arrivals from other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations accounted for 44 percent of total international arrivals, led by Saudi Arabia, which accounted for nearly 30 percent of the total figures, according to the Qatar Tourism Authority.

Qatar 2022, host organizers, said that “Qatar will host a wide range of cultural and entertainment options for the whole family” during the World Cup.

Enrique Iglesias
More than 1.2 million visitors are expected to visit Qatar during the World Cup [Faras Ghani/Al Jazeera]

“The national festival will include more than 90 special events taking place on the sidelines of the tournament… the main events will feature match viewing areas, music festivals, cultural exhibits and street performances,” he said.

In the capital, Doha, the Corniche has become pedestrianized since early November, and the 6 km (3.7 mi) stretch of road alongside the water “will have a carnival atmosphere with traveling shows, cultural activities, stalls, food and drink and retail. points of sale”.

Given the numbers, Qatar is expected to deploy tens of thousands of security forces to ensure a smooth World Cup.

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The host country has signed numerous security cooperation agreements with various countries, including Morocco, Pakistan, the United Kingdom, Turkey and NATO.

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