LONDON–(COMMERCIAL WIRE)–As the world’s largest sports tournament takes place in Qatar this month, the Middle Eastern country of 2.9 million[i] it is expected to receive more than 1.5 million international visitors[ii]. The competition takes place in eight stadiums built in close proximity, offering soccer fans an unprecedented opportunity to attend more than one game per day.
Despite being a venue that ranks low in terms of security and medical risk, Qatar has invested significant effort to further improve its medical, security and emergency response in preparation for the games. However, the scale of the event and the influx of people into Qatar require affected organizations to plan for and mitigate the disruptions and associated risks to ensure normal business operations.
Since the tournament takes place in eight stadiums, the logistical demand is widespread, particularly with extremely high demand for accommodation, road transport and use of public transport. This is causing logistical challenges and leading to operational disruptions for organizations. Additional considerations for organizations include cultural sensitivities, potential for accidents and illness, risk of petty crime, cybersecurity concerns, and other threats.
Gulnaz Ukassova, Director of Security, Information and Analytics at International SOS, commented: “Organizations must stay up to date during the tournament on all government directives regarding entry requirements, business operations, road closures, and other restrictions. Local employees and international assignees should be made aware 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-related concerns they may encounter during their stay.”
Sebastien Bedu, General Manager of International SOS, GCC adds: “Our previous experience supporting our clients during high-profile global sporting events in countries such as Brazil, CIS countries, Tokyo, South Korea, Poland and the UK indicates that things can remain fluid over the course of the tournament. There are likely to be unforeseen challenges. Therefore, having regular communication with security experts and health professionals is imperative to mitigate those risks..”
To manage the security of your international attendees and local workforce at Qatar International SOS recommends:
Secure business continuity plans, medical emergencies and security are implemented and supported by a strong network of local and international medical, logistics and security providers.
Count for Reduction of working hours and possible interruptions. due to increased traffic restrictions and congestion.
Guarantee 24/7 access to medical and safety advisors and specialistswho monitor developments in the country and advise organizations on the steps, changes and adjustments necessary to keep those plans agile.
Also, for those on the ground we recommend:
- Regularly reconfirm restrictions including those related to road closures and alcohol consumption, as these can be introduced at short notice. Avoid autonomous driving and use alternative means of transport, including official taxis and public transport.
- Don’t let your guard down and adopt sensible basic precautions against the risk of petty and street crime.
- Oversee international diplomatic affairs for issues that may affect you based on your personal profile.
- Avoid talking about politics or sensitive topics. in public places and carefully consider anything you post on social media.
To adopt basic measures to safeguard information security. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks and turn off the Bluetooth and Wi-Fi functions of your mobile phone when not in use.
- Minimize time spent in the vicinity of attractive militant targets, including government, law enforcement, and religious sites. Exercising surveillance around ‘soft’ civilian targets such as transportation hubs and shopping malls.
- Delete all downloaded apps on your electronic devices while in Qatar and do a thorough check on all devices upon your return.
About the SOS International Group of Companies
The International SOS Group of Companies is in the business of saving lives, protecting its global workforce from health and safety threats. Wherever you are, we offer customized health, security risk management and wellness solutions to fuel your growth and productivity. In case of extreme weather, epidemic or security incident, we provide an immediate response providing peace of mind. Our innovative technology and medical and security expertise are focused on prevention, delivering real-time actionable insights and quality delivery on the ground. We help protect your people, your organization’s reputation, as well as support your compliance reporting needs. By partnering with us, organizations can meet their duty of care responsibilities, while boosting business resilience, continuity and sustainability.
Founded in 1985, International SOS Group, headquartered in London and Singapore, is trusted by 9,500 organizations, including most of the Fortune Global 500, as well as mid-market companies, governments, educational institutions and NGOs. 13,000 multicultural security, medical, logistics and digital experts stand by your side to provide support and assistance from more than 1,000 locations in 90 countries, 24/7/365.
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[i] Qatar population https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/qatar-population/
[ii] Expected number of international visitors during the global sporting event in Qatar in 2022 https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/03/world/middleeast/world-cup-qatar.html