Qatar Tourism reveals 10 facts visitors may not know about Qatar:
o Did you know the name “Qatar” has ancient Roman origins?
o Did you know Qatar has the world’s best airport and airline?
o Did you know Qatar has the world’s longest cycling route and tallest indoor rollercoaster?
Doha, Qatar, 16 March 2022: Qatar Tourism reveals 10 unusual facts about the first country in the Middle East to host a FIFA World Cup™, with the tournament in Qatar set to kick off in just 250 days.
Chief Operating Officer of Qatar Tourism, Berthold Trenkel, said: “When travellers visit Qatar they find the best of the Middle East all in one place, with a variety of exciting adventures and activities they never knew were here. We encourage all visitors and football fans coming out to Qatar to explore our country outside of watching football matches, as there is something for every type of traveller and budget.”
10 facts you didn’t know about Qatar
1. World’s safest country
Visitors who value safety can be rest assured that Qatar has very low crime rates and security issues. In 2022, consistent with the past few years, the Numbeo Crime Index has ranked Qatar as the safest country in the world. Numbeo also ranked Doha as the world’s second safest city.
While the current state of Qatar is, in some respects, a modern creation, references to the peninsula date back to ancient history, when Roman writer Pliny the Elder referred to the inhabitants as “Catharrei” after a local settlement. Ptolemy, the ancient mathematician, astronomer and geographer, then produced a map with the peninsula labelled “Catara”, which is on display at Qatar National Library. This spelling stuck for centuries before the first references to “Katara” and “Qatar” appeared in the journals of Portuguese explorers.
3. A fascinating heritage
The first evidence of sustained human settlement in Qatar dates back to the sixth millennium BCE. Bronze Age sites in Qatar are concentrated in the Al Khor region, where the island of Jazirat bin Ghannem, known as “Purple Island”, was a centre in the purple dye trade. The industry thrived in the second millennium BCE, when purple was the supremely expensive royal Roman colour worn by the emperor. The dye was extracted from large quantities of marine snails. Today, visitors can go kayaking through the island’s mangrove forest and stand atop the rocks for a splendid sunset view.
4. Where the sand meets the sea
Qatar is one of the few places in the world where the desert meets the sea. The dunes are at their most spectacular out by Khor Al Adaid, also known as the Inland Sea, where a unique ecosystem has developed, with flamingos, turtles, foxes and the country’s national animal, the Arabian Oryx. Visitors can book a trip to the Inland Sea for a small fee and also include exhilarating dune bashing in a 4x4 to get there off the beaten path.
5. Favoured by the world’s largest fish
Qatar hosts one of the largest gatherings of whale sharks on the planet. The sharks appear from April to September off the northeast coast of the Al Shaheen restricted marine zone. These majestic aquatic creatures, often referred to as ‘gentle giants’, have been endangered since 2002. The largest fish in the world, whale sharks can grow up to 20 metres long.
6. A centre for sustainable projects
Sustainability has been embedded into major new projects in Qatar since the FIFA World Cup bid was won over a decade ago. In central Doha you will find the café-lined streets of Msheireb, the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project. At the heart of the World Cup will be the $45-billion city of the future, Lusail City, the largest single sustainable development to be undertaken in Qatar, with a host of interesting buildings (the pinnacle of which is the soon-to-open Katara Towers) and innovate eco-friendly ideas. The stadiums built for the football have sustainability at their core and it will be a carbon-neutral event. Stadium 974, for example, is built from repurposed ocean shipping containers and will be completely dismantled after the tournament ends.
7. World’s longest cycling path
Sports and public health are a top priority in Qatar and there is even a national bank holiday every February to mark National Sports Day. The Olympic Cycling Track is a testament to this, which gained a Guinness World Record in 2020 for the longest continuous cycle path in the world, at 33 kilometres long.
8. Easy to enter
Thanks to a host of visa facilitation measures Qatar is now one of the most accessible countries in the Middle East. Visitors from all around the world, from over 95 countries, can enter Qatar either visa-free or by filling out simple online applications, depending on the passport they carry. Visitors can check the requirements through the simple visa checker here: https://www.visitqatar.qa/en/plan-your-trip/visas
9. World’s best airline and airport
The incredible hospitality visitors receive on a trip to Qatar begins on their flight over and continues at the airport arrivals. Qatar Airways was awarded the ‘World’s best airline’ and Hamad International Airport was granted the ‘Best airport in the world’ at the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2021. Travellers set to transit through Qatar can take advantage of the world’s best value stopover packages, launched by Qatar Airways and Discover Qatar, and supported by Qatar Tourism.
10. World’s tallest indoor rollercoaster
Adding to Qatar’s growing family and theme park offering, Quest Doha – which launched in Doha Oasis in July 2021 – has set two Guinness World Records for the ‘Tallest Indoor Rollercoaster’ and the ‘Tallest Indoor Drop Tower Ride’. The park is divided into three “time-dimensions”: Oryxville, exploring the ancient Arabian past; City of Imagination, a reflection of the present; and Gravity, a state-of-the-art futuristic spaceport.
11. BONUS: The first Middle East nation to host a FIFA World Cup™
The countdown has now begun to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. This will be the first time the world’s biggest football tournament is to be hosted in the Middle East. Fans will be able to watch more than two live matches per day, as the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will be the most compact version of the tournament ever staged.
Those looking for more fast facts about Qatar in addition to these fun ones should visit: https://www.visitqatar.qa/en/things-to-do/get-inspired/fast-facts-about-qatar
For media-related inquiries, please contact Qatar Tourism’s Press Office on:
+974 7774 7863 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Qatar is a peninsula surrounded by the Arabian Gulf in the heart of the Middle East, with 80% of the earth’s population within a six-hour flight. Ranked the safest country in the world in 2022 by Numbeo, Qatar welcomes all travellers, and guests from over 95 countries can enter visa-free. Qatar has an incredible variety of easily accessible tourist attractions, a plethora of fauna and flora including Whale Sharks and the majestic national animal the Arabian Oryx, and most experiences are a unique combination of cultural authenticity and modernity. From iconic museums to high-rise restaurants, from thrilling desert adventures to world-famous events including none other than the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, there is something for all types of travellers and budgets. Travellers set to transit through Qatar should turn one holiday into two with the world’s best value stopover packages, launched by Qatar Airways and Discover Qatar and supported by Qatar Tourism.
About Qatar Tourism:
Qatar Tourism is the official government body responsible for the development and promotion of tourism in Qatar, facilitating the sector’s exponential growth. Qatar is a destination where people of the world come together to experience unique offerings in arts, culture, sports, and adventure, catering to family and business visitors, rooted in Service Excellence. Qatar Tourism seeks to boost the entire tourism value chain, grow local and international visitor demand, attract inward investment, and drive a multiplier effect across the domestic economy. The Qatar Tourism Strategy 2030 sets an ambitious target to attract over six million international visitors a year by 2030, making Qatar the fastest growing destination in the Middle East.