LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–This month, the world’s largest sports tournament takes place in Qatar, the Middle Eastern country of 2.9 million people[i] is expected to receive over 1.5 million international visitors[ii]. The competition takes place at eight nearby stadiums, giving football fans an unprecedented opportunity to attend more than one game a day.
Despite being a place that ranks low in terms of safety and medical risks, Qatar has made significant efforts to further improve its medical, safety and emergency procedures in preparation for the Games. However, the scale of the event and the influx of people into Qatar requires affected organizations to plan for and mitigate the disruption and risks involved to ensure normal business operations.
With the tournament taking place across eight stadiums, the logistical demands are high, especially with the extremely high demand for accommodation, road transport and use of public transport. This creates logistical challenges and leads to business disruption for organizations. Additional considerations for organizations include cultural sensitivities, potential accidents and illnesses, risk of petty crime, cybersecurity concerns, and other threats.
Gulnaz Ukassova, Security Director, Information & Analysis at International SOS, commented: “Organizations should remain up to date with all government guidelines regarding immigration, business operations, road closures and other restrictions during the tournament. Local staff and international officers should be apprised of the logistical and business disruptions they are likely to experience during the event. Visitors to Qatar should be aware of the logistical considerations, cultural sensitivities and security concerns they may encounter during their stay.”
Sebastien Bedu, International SOS General Manager, GCC adds: “Our past experience of supporting our clients at high profile world sporting events in countries such as Brazil, CIS, Tokyo, South Korea, Poland and UK indicates that the situation may remain fluid as the tournament progresses. It is likely that there could be unforeseen challenges. Therefore, regular communication with safety experts and healthcare professionals is a must to mitigate these risks.”
To ensure the safety of your international participants and local staff at Qatar International, SOS recommends:
Ensure Business continuity, medical and security contingency plans established and supported by a robust network of local and international medical, logistics and security providers.
account for reduced working hours and possible interruptions due to increased traffic restrictions and congestion.
Secure 24/7 Access to medical and safety advisors and specialistsmonitor developments in the country and advise organizations on the necessary steps, changes and adjustments to keep these plans agile.
Additionally, for those on the ground, we recommend:
- Confirm restrictions regularly including road closures and alcohol consumption as these can be introduced at short notice. Avoid self-driving vehicles and instead use alternative modes of transport, including official taxis and public transport.
- Stay alert and take basic common sense precautions against the risk of petty and street crime.
- Overseeing international diplomatic affairs for issues that may affect you based on your personal profile.
- Avoid talking about politics or sensitive topics in public environments and carefully review everything you post on social media.
To adopt basic measures to ensure information security. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks and turn off your cell phone’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi functions when not in use.
- Minimize time spent near attractive militant targets, including government, security forces and religious sites. Exercise vigilance near “soft” civilian targets such as transport hubs and shopping malls.
- Delete all applications downloaded on your electronic devices while you are in Qatar and conduct a thorough check of all equipment upon your return.
About the International SOS Group of Companies
The International SOS Group of Companies is dedicated to saving lives and protecting your global workforce from health and safety threats. Wherever you are, we deliver tailored health, safety risk management and wellbeing solutions to fuel your growth and productivity. In the event of extreme weather, an epidemic or a security incident, we offer an immediate response that gives you peace of mind. Our innovative technology, medical and security expertise focuses on prevention, providing real-time, actionable insights and high-quality on-site delivery. We help protect your employees and your company’s reputation and support your compliance reporting obligations. By partnering with us, organizations can fulfill their duty of care while strengthening corporate resilience, continuity and sustainability.
Founded in 1985, with headquarters in London and Singapore, International SOS Group is trusted by 9,500 organizations, including the majority of the Fortune Global 500, as well as medium-sized companies, governments, educational institutions and NGOs. 13,000 multicultural security, medical, logistics and digital experts are at your disposal in over 1,000 locations in 90 countries with support and assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
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[i] Qatar population https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/qatar-population/
[ii] Expected number of international visitors during the world sports event in Qatar in 2022 https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/03/world/middleeast/world-cup-qatar.html