This research project is a collaborative venture between Stenden University in Qatar and Edinburgh Napier University, UK. It is being conducted under the National Priorities Research Program and is looking at leveraging the 2022 FIFA World Cup for the promotion of green and active living in Qatar.
There is evidence to suggest that the planners see events as tools for destination marketing, catalysts for urban change, drivers for regeneration and a means towards healthy lifestyle adoption and targeted social and environmental change. There is now an impetus on focusing on strategic paths towards achieving lasting outcomes for host communities-a phenomenon described as event leveraging. Qatar, which suffers from a high per capita carbon footprint and high levels of diabetes and obesity, has the opportunity to leverage the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup to address two strategic imperatives: 1) the improvement of the communication and adoption of physically active lifestyles, 2) the use of events to implement best environmental sustainability practice. The research took the form of a network development project to facilitate the constructive dialogue and knowledge transfer between professionals (event managers, public health experts, physical educators, social marketing experts, city planners and environmental agencies) in Qatar and with experts in UK and overseas. A questionnaire survey, focus group meetings and interviews were held to identify, 1) current event leveraging, 2) opportunities that the event has and will generate for green and active living promotion, 3) perceived barriers and challenges that exist in harnessing opportunities, 4) strategic options available to mitigate against barriers to green and active living and achieve targets.
The proposed research project aligns with the Qatar National Research Strategy, Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-2016 and the Qatar National Vision 2030 given its emphasis on supporting physically active and sustainable communities that could make Qatar a role model in the Arab world and beyond. The results of this study will provide guidance on how Qatar may leverage the 2022 FIFA World Cup to promote physical activity and green living among the population. The study will also shed light on any potential obstacles and how the Qatari government can address them.