From much-anticipated sporting events to family friendly activities and new touristic experiences, this winter Qatar had something in store for everyone.
Qatar staged an exciting finish to the year with a host of activities for the whole family and new touristic experiences. As restrictions on public gatherings eased and borders reopened, the country hosted a slew of in-person events. Qatar Tourism worked with stakeholders across the public and private sectors to host events and develop products and services catering to the needs of residents and visitors alike.
Chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said, “This winter, Qatar has delivered a World Beyond to its citizens, residents, and visitors. We saw unprecedented levels of participation for our events and festivals, contributing to the success of the season. It is an encouraging sign as the country prepares to host millions of fans for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. We are especially delighted to see a large number of visitors from all over the region who joined us to share the exciting FIFA Arab Cup 2021 matches and partake of the variety of events taking place at the same time. It was wonderful to see the enthusiastic response to our cornerstone events, such as the Qatar International Food Festival, Qatar Live, Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition and more.”
Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF)
The first in the impressive line-up of events was Qatar’s longest-running food and beverage festival, Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), which returned with its longest edition to date and ran for almost three weeks from November 26 to December 17. The festival took place at Al Bidda Park for the first time and hosted food trucks at a stretch of Corniche Road for eight days, from November 26. Held after a hiatus of nearly two years, residents and visitors alike took advantage of the festival, which attracted 224,356 visitors over a course of 22 days. This edition’s partners included Qatar Airways, Ooredoo, Snoonu, AlBidda Park, Monoprix, Askar, Qinwan and Wasfa.
The festival combined culinary arts with exciting festivities to provide family entertainment for residents and visitors of all ages. Twenty seven chefs from Qatar and abroad participated this year in QIFF’s Cooking Theatre, Chef’s Table sessions and other events. Among these were local and regional chefs including Aisha AlTamimi, Hasan AlIbrahim, Abdul Malik, and Mohamed Najem as well as eight renowned Michelin Starred chefs: Frederic Jaunault, Heinz Beck, Kei Kobayashi, Jannis Brevet, Jean Thomas Schneider, David Kinch, Christian le Squer, and Gilles Goujon. These chefs participated as part of the World Class Chefs programme – a joint initiative of Qatar Tourism, Qatar Airways, and Qatar Aircraft Catering company (QACC), in collaboration with Kings of Kitchen.
Shortly after the launch of QIFF, the country staged Qatar Live, hosting ten renowned artists of the Arab world from December 2 - 17 at Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC). Qatar Live provided a stage to Qatari, Kuwaiti, Syrian, Lebanese, Moroccan, Saudi, and Egyptian singers and bands including Magida El Roumi, Mutref Al Mutref, Assala, Abdallah Al Rowaished, Myriam Fares, Aedh Yousef, Dalia, Asma Lamnawar and Fahad Al-Kubaisi.
To provide an inclusive experience to families, Qatar Live also hosted a Hot Wheels® Monster Trucks Experience. Taking place from December 8-11 at Lusail Arena, it treated audiences to an exclusive opportunity to see real-life versions of the famous Hot Wheels monster truck toys. The concerts as well as the Hot Wheels Monster Trucks shows had packed audiences, with a total of 22,754 attendees across Qatar Live shows.
Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition
Organised by Qatar Tourism and Qatar Business Events Corporation (QBEC), the 18th Edition of Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition opened on December 12 and ran until December 17 at Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC). The exhibition is the leading platform for modest and contemporary Arabian fashion. This year, the 18th Edition of Heya was held under the theme “Ignite”, affirming Heya’s commitment to empowering female entrepreneurs in Qatar and the Middle East.
The exhibition hosted around 130 brands from high-street fashion to haute couture, luxury modest evening gowns and abayas, as well as accessories, cosmetics and perfumes by exhibitors from the GCC, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar and Turkey. Exhibition partners included Qatar Airways, Printemps Doha, SkipCash, Qatar Assistive Technology Center Mada, AlHosh Gallery, VCUarts, Bedaya, Istituto Di Moda Burgo, PowerHouse Gym, Maison de Joelle, Bioskin, Floward, Golden Gazelle, Halo, Oakberry and Twenty Eight, I Love Qatar, Qatar Living, and HARPER’S BAZAAR QATAR. This year’s edition of Heya endorsed ‘fashion for a cause’, partnering with Education Above All (EAA) and with Al Shafallah Center for Persons with Disability, showcasing the talented designs of Al Shaffallah students in the exhibition.
Qatar Balloon Festival
Qatar Tourism also formed a strategic partnership with Qatar Balloon Festival which returned from December 9 to 18 at Aspire Park. The second edition of the festival featured 35 hot air balloons from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Poland, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Lithuania, Estonia, and Austria.
The sporting highlights from the winter season revolved around Formula 1 and the FIFA Arab Cup 2021. For the first time, Qatar hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix, with the inaugural night race taking place at Losail International Circuit from November 19 to November 21. Shortly after, the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 brought together 16 teams from across the region. Between November 30 and December 18, the event provided an opportunity to both competitors and spectators to experience the iconic stadiums that will host FIFA World Cup 2022.
The Return of Cruise Tourism
Qatar is a rapidly emerging cruise destination with a steady growth in the number of arriving ships and passengers. Mwani Qatar and Qatar Tourism announced the return of cruise tourism in the country on December 2 when MSC Virtuosa made its first voyage to Doha, bringing around 4,600 visitors. The 2021-22 cruise season is expected to be the biggest season yet, with 78 calls expected, including 11 maiden voyages, 11 turnaround voyages and 10 ships staying overnight in Doha Port.
Numerous health and safety procedures have been put in place in coordination with stakeholders to ensure the safety of the community, starting from the moment the cruise ships arrive until they depart.
Qatar National Day
Qatar Tourism launched a new song to celebrate the Qatar National Day 2021 by showcasing the country’s main attractions in a music video. The song follows four young girls as they embark on a tour of Doha, while singing “this is Qatar!” The song was written by Hessa Alneama, performed by Hind Al Naemi, and directed by Salem AlTurk. Custom attire was provided by Qatari designer, Dee Designs.
Qatar Tourism ensures visitors from all over the world a safe experience, as it follows the Ministry of Public Health’s (MOPH) stringent hygiene and safety guidelines.
Qatar Tourism supports its partners from the private sector in developing a diverse and rich annual events calendar in order to energise the hospitality and retail sectors, drive domestic tourism and attract regional visitors year-round.
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About Qatar Tourism (QT)
Qatar Tourism’s mission is to establish Qatar as a place where cultural authenticity meets modernity, and where people of the world come together to experience unique offerings in culture, sports, business and family entertainment, rooted in Service Excellence.
Qatar Tourism is responsible for regulating and developing the tourism and hospitality industry, encouraging more investments from the private sector, as well setting the national strategy of the tourism sector, reviewing it periodically and oversee its implementation, in order to diversify the tourism offerings in the country and increase visitor spend.
Through our network of international offices in priority markets, and cutting-edge digital platforms, Qatar Tourism is expanding Qatar’s presence globally, enhancing the tourism sector’s ability to reach target audiences directly.
Since launching QNTSS, the economic impact of the tourism sector in Qatar is becoming increasingly visible with the government designating tourism in 2017 a priority sector in pursuit of a more diverse economy and more active private sector.
LinkedIn: Qatar National Tourism Council