Bangladeshi drivers gear up to serve Qatar World Cup visitors

Special Bangladeshi drivers gear up to serve Qatar World Cup visitors
Motorists drive past a billboard with pictures of France's striker Kylian Mbappe and Argentine's captain Lionel Messi in Doha on Nov. 8, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament. (AFP)
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Updated 12 November 2022

Bangladeshi drivers gear up to serve Qatar World Cup visitors

Bangladeshi drivers gear up to serve Qatar World Cup visitors
  • 8,000 Bangladeshi cab drivers currently working in Qatar
  • Bangladeshi Embassy recently organized a training course for them

DHAKA: Bangladeshi drivers in Doha have received special language and culture training ahead of the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Around 1.5 million people from all over the world are expected to visit Qatar — increasing its population by 50 percent — during the tournament, which runs from Nov. 20 through Dec. 20.

Drivers are among the many service workers in Qatar who will be at the forefront of welcoming football fans to the country. Some 8,000 of them — employed by taxi companies and ride-hailing services — are Bangladeshis.

So the Bangladeshi Embassy in Doha recently ran a three-week training course for Bangladeshi drivers to improve their etiquette and English-language skills.

“If our drivers can deliver good services to the tourists, it will also be positive country branding for Bangladesh,” Dr. Muhammad Mustafizur Rahman, the embassy’s charge d’affaires, told Arab News.

Bangladeshi teachers from Qatari universities delivered the training to 420 participants employed by 15 transportation companies. The training is also available online for those who could not attend in person.

“We do have some limitations in communicating with passengers,” said Abdul Motaleb, one of the drivers who took part in the training. He has been working in Qatar for nearly a decade.

“We received some language tips on greeting the passengers and sharing some basic information about the country,” he continued. “I can’t express how helpful it was.”

For his fellow driver Saydul Islam, the course helped him overcome his shyness when interacting with foreigners.

“Earlier, I was afraid of talking to passengers in English,” he said. “After the training, it became easier.”

The program has also served as a pilot for future training programs for migrant workers in the Gulf state, which is home to 400,000 Bangladeshis, with many also employed in the construction, healthcare, and hospitality sectors.

“We received highly positive responses from the participants,” Rahman said. “The embassy will offer this kind of upskilling program for (those) working in other sectors.”