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Wednesday, July 24, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
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 Joey Aguilar
Joey Aguilar
Joey Aguilar has been a journalist since 2013 at Gulf Times, reporting on events related to Qatar. He was earlier a journalist for eight years in the Philippines. He became one of the 2015 United Nations Foundation Global Goals Press Fellows. He has also attended a number of journalism seminars in the Philippines.
Infographic
Qatar
A celebration of Qatari culture and creativity

The inaugural SkillFest is transforming Msheireb Downtown Doha into a hub of artistic expression, showcasing the rich heritage of Qatar alongside cutting-edge contemporary art.The festival, running until August 15, offers residents and visitors a unique and engaging experience. It features a diverse range of activities, catering to all ages and interests.Interactive workshops designed to inspire and engage participants in various artistic and cultural crafts take centre stage. Renowned Qatari and regional artists and artisans share their expertise through masterclasses, while engaging workshops for children foster the next generation of creative talent.It is learnt that this event underlines Msheireb Properties’ commitment to promoting Qatari culture and showcasing the remarkable talent within the community. The festival also serves as a platform for local artisans to connect with the public, share their passions, and inspire others.Msheireb Galleria provides a selection of curated offerings at various zones throughout the summer, including Food, Play, Treasure Hunts, and Splash zones.The SkillFest Market, bustling with activity from 11am to 3pm and between 4pm and 10pm, features more than 20 local vendors who showcase and sell their unique handcrafted products. Visitors can also immerse themselves in a photography exhibition, featuring stunning wildlife photographs by renowned Qatari photographer Azzam al-Mannai.Msheireb Galleria, a central hub of the festival, takes visitors to ‘a world of excitement’ at its Arcade Zone, where they can explore a giant immersive maze and enjoy a mix of retro and modern games.SkillFest extends beyond Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD), with events taking place at Place Vendome, Mall of Qatar, and West Walk. This nationwide initiative, supported by Visit Qatar, aims to celebrate local and sustainable arts and crafts inspired by Qatar’s marine environment.Festival-goers also have the chance to examine more than 100 works by 74 designers, design studios, and collections at the “Arab Design Now” exhibition – on view until August 5 at M7. This captivating display underlines the diversity and talent within the Arab design world, spanning from architectural installations to textiles, furniture, and graphic design.


Omar al-Jaber, Acting Chief of the Tourism Development Sector at QT
Qatar
Michelin Guide to elevate Qatar’s dining scene and hospitality sector: QT

Qatar’s culinary landscape is poised for a major transformation as the Michelin Guide arrives in Doha for its 2025 selection, promising to elevate the country’s dining scene and hospitality industry to unprecedented heights, a Qatar Tourism (QT) official said.“This recognition acts as a powerful catalyst for tourism, attracting discerning travellers who rely on the Guide to discover exceptional dining experiences. Many travellers plan their visits around Michelin-starred establishments, underscoring Doha’s appeal as a destination committed to culinary quality and innovation,” Omar al-Jaber, Acting Chief of the Tourism Development Sector at QT, told Gulf Times.He noted that the Michelin Guide unveils Doha’s diverse culinary landscape, inviting travellers to embark on a gastronomic journey. From authentic Arabic and Middle Eastern flavours to a world of international cuisines, it promises enriching experiences that will leave a lasting impression on every visitor.QT recently announced the Guide’s expansion to Doha, marking the Guide’s commitment to highlighting global culinary scenes and promoting travel culture, a mission it has maintained since its founding in 1900.Al-Jaber said the Guide’s arrival will stimulate healthy competition within Qatar’s culinary landscape. This, he added, will encourage restaurants to constantly innovate and enhance their offerings, leading to a more diverse and sophisticated dining scene for both residents and visitors.He added that service excellence across the sector will further complement the Guide’s influence, ensuring that every aspect of a visitor’s dining and hospitality experience in Doha meets the highest standards.“We are particularly proud of this partnership as it signifies Qatar’s commitment to nurturing culinary talent and promoting luxury and quality. Doha has become a magnet for skilled chefs and professionals who see our city as a hub of opportunity for their creative expression and career advancement,” he pointed out.The QT official expressed confidence that this international acclaim will undoubtedly draw more tourists seeking memorable dining experiences, thereby boosting the local economy and hospitality sector.“This growth not only supports local employment but also encourages skill development and career advancement for individuals passionate about culinary arts and hospitality,” al-Jaber added. To Page 12He said Doha’s inclusion in the Michelin Guide’s global restaurant selections is expected to have a ripple effect throughout the region, promoting travel culture and culinary experiences in Qatar and the wider Middle East.Sharing a glimpse into the Michelin inspectors’ journey during their review process, al-Jaber said that they have likely encountered a variety of unique culinary trends and an eclectic mix of dining experiences that showcase the city’s diversity and innovation in gastronomy.He said the inspectors have been immersing themselves in both high-end restaurants and hidden gems across different neighbourhoods, ensuring a thorough and independent evaluation.By adhering to Michelin’s rigorous evaluation criteria, al-Jaber said such collaboration ensures that Doha remains at the forefront of culinary excellence, offering fresh and enticing experiences to visitors.According to al-Jaber, the decision to expand the Michelin Guide to Doha was driven by a number of compelling factors, demonstrating Qatar’s commitment to culinary excellence.“Qatar is rapidly emerging as a prominent global travel destination, blending rich Arabian traditions with a welcoming atmosphere that has captivated visitors worldwide for decades,” he said. “This unique cultural tapestry provides an ideal backdrop for showcasing diverse culinary experiences, making Doha a natural choice for the Michelin Guide’s expansion”.Highlighting QT’s key role in supporting the arrival of the Michelin Guide through several strategic initiatives, al-Jaber said: “This partnership ensures that our finest dining establishments are prominently recognised for their exceptional quality and service.“By showcasing these venues, we aim to elevate their profiles on a global stage, attracting discerning travellers who seek unparalleled culinary experiences.”


Young participants at the Aspire Summer Camp 2024.
Community
Summer heat no dampener to enjoying Doha activities

The summer heat failed to dampen Doha’s vibrant spirit as various events and activities for different age groups unfold at various locations.From summer camps to cultural celebrations, it is learnt that the city is offering residents and visitors opportunities to learn, explore, and be entertained.Launched on July 15 and running until August 15, an initiative titled “Skillfest” showcases the beauty and diversity of the arts, crafts, and culture scene in Qatar.Held at four key locations across Doha – Msheireb Galleria, Place Vendome, Mall of Qatar, and West Walk – this event offers visitors to opportunity to immerse themselves in local traditions and sustainable artistry inspired by Qatar’s marine environment.Visitors can enjoy Arabic calligraphy demonstrations, astronomy exhibitions, manuscripts and anecdotes, pavilions dedicated to marine creatures, and photography exhibitions by renowned Qatari artists like Azzam al-Mannai.Skillfest also features artisan markets, where 24 artists are showcasing their creations, and competitions with prizes for participants.The Aspire Zone Foundation (AZF) launched its Aspire Summer Camp 2024 on Sunday, for children aged 6-12.The camp offers a diverse range of activities, from sports and artistic endeavours to cultural experiences, allowing youngsters to develop new skills, discover their talents, and build friendships.Field trips to the 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum and the Rail station offer valuable learning opportunities about Qatar’s history and public transportation systems.The camp includes interactive entertainment at the Target Shooting Range and educational activities like electronic games, drawing lessons, football, volleyball, basketball training, and swimming lessons.The Katara Summer Camp 2024, which also opened on Sunday and running until August 7, is another initiative aimed at providing children with a unique summer experience.Hosted by Katara – the Cultural Village, the camp offers a variety of educational, entertaining, and cultural activities, with participation from various entities across the country, including the Ministry of Interior, Al Jazeera Media Institute, and Qatar Red Crescent Society.This year’s edition builds upon the success of the previous year, featuring a four-day-a-week schedule packed with engaging programmes.The second edition of the Qatar Toy Festival, taking place at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre until August 14, is attracting visitors from across Qatar and the GCC.Organised by Visit Qatar, the festival offers a wide range of live shows, exclusive activations, and educational entertainment for children and adults.This year’s festival features an expanded footprint, with 10 themed zones including Anime, Movie Land, and Retail, alongside returning favourites like Preschool, Girls, Boys, Family, Stage, F&B, and Theming Area.

Gulf Times
Sports
Field visits and exciting educational opportunities at Aspire Summer Camp  

The Aspire Summer Camp kicked off yesterday (July 21) at Aspire Zone Foundation, bringing together children of all ages in an environment full of enthusiasm and excitement.This unique event, which is filled with adventure, learning, and exploration, offers participants the opportunity to acquire new skills and form friendships. Its diverse programmes, include sports, artistic and cultural activities, allowing young participants to discover their talents.Aspire Zone announced the details of the final schedule of field visits within the activities of Aspire Summer Camp, which aims to provide fun learning experiences for children between the ages of 6 and 12.The schedule of field visits will include several important stops, most notably the Qatar Sports and Olympic Museum, which provides children with valuable educational and cultural opportunities. Visits also include the Rail station, which will introduce children to different aspects of public transportation in Qatar.In addition, Aspire Zone Foundation will provide children participating in the camp with the opportunity to visit the Target Shooting Range, where they will enjoy a unique entertainment and interactive experience.As part of the field trips, the camp includes a variety of educational activities in innovative ways, such as electronic games, learning drawing arts, football, volleyball, and basketball training, in addition to swimming lessons.This edition of the camp comes in partnership with 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Rail Company, Sports Lab Academy, Get Started Sports Centre, Al-Hadaf Shooting Range, Marial Water Park, and Ocean Medical Centre.

Gulf Times
Qatar
Qatar Tourism conducts field visit to Barcelona Port for exchange of experiences and international best practices 

A Qatari delegation, comprising of representatives from Qatar Tourism (QT); the Permanent Committee for the Management of Maritime Ports, Mwani; and the General Authority of Customs recently conducted an official field visit to the tourist port of Barcelona, Spain.During the visit, members of the Qatari delegation met with management officials of the Spanish port to learn about best practices, workflow mechanisms, services provided to visitors, cruise arrivals, as well as port security and safety systems.The three-day visit is part of efforts aimed at supporting cruise tourism in Qatar. It focuses on exchanging expertise and experiences, as well as enhancing the operational processes and logistical services necessary for the sector’s growth in the country.The first day of the visit focused on exploring the cruise ship terminal and ships, where the Qatari delegation met with Spanish port officials to learn about operational systems, workload, and tourism activity levels at the port.A portion of the programme was centered around reviewing modern security measures, co-ordination between various port authorities (such as passports, customs, administration, and security), ship reservation procedures, and priority determination processes.A joint workshop at the Port brought together members of the Qatari delegation and Barcelona Port officials. The workshop provided insights into passenger entry and exit systems, as well as innovative solutions aimed at managing tourist flows effectively at one of Spain’s prominent landmarks. A comparison was also made between the procedures and efficiency of the Spanish Port and Doha Port.In a press statement, Omar al-Jaber, acting chief of Tourism Development Sector at QT, said: “The State of Qatar has emerged as a leading global destination for cruise tourism, featuring prominently on popular cruise itineraries in the region.The significant growth in Qatar’s cruise tourism sector is a testament to the constructive co-operation and ongoing coordination with our partners. The recently concluded 2023-2024 cruise season was a resounding success in terms of both cruise ship visits and total visitor numbers.He added: “Our visit to Barcelona Port was aimed at gaining insights into the latest systems and services for enhancing the tourism experience for visitors arriving at Doha Port. This aligns with our commitment to continuously improve and innovate in order to offer memorable experiences to tourists visiting Qatar.”Doha Port evolved into a pivotal departure and return point for numerous international cruise ships, especially following its extensive development in recent years. This transformation included the establishment of a major passenger reception facility, enabling it to accommodate two large ships simultaneously and handle approximately 12,000 people daily.The cruise sector has become a crucial component of QT’s strategy, consistently achieving robust growth rates in recent years. During the 2023-2024 season alone, Doha Port welcomed 73 ships.


Snapshots from the Qatar Toy Festival at the DECC. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam
Qatar
More play, less screen, all fun for the children

The second edition of Qatar Toy Festival, currently underway at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC), is promoting interactive play and reducing children’s reliance on screens, according to parents at the event.The event, organised by Visit Qatar, runs until August 14 and offers a wide array of live shows, unique activations, workshops, games, and educational entertainment for children and adults.“Mainly we came for the kids, and my son is enjoying more than my daughter. He’s five years old and loves number blocks. He never sits in one place, but he’s been playing for 20 minutes now,” Indian expatriate Tamil, who arrived in Doha two months ago, told Gulf Times yesterday.“I see this event helping our children avoid spending too much time on their phones and mobile devices,” he said.Tamil noted that his son, familiar with popular cartoon characters from television, was excited to see them in person.“He was happy to sit and see the blocks and do things, maybe he was watching on TV all the time,” he noted.“Now seeing things like all these characters come in front of them, and that makes them really happy,” Tamil added.The festival has been expanded this year, occupying more than 17,000sq m of indoor space with 10 themed zones.New additions are Anime, Movie Land, and Retail zones, joining returning favourites like Preschool, Girls, Boys, Family, Stage, F&B, and Theming Area.More than 50 international brands, including popular ones such as Barbie and Naruto, as well as newcomers like Mr Bean and Barney, are participating.The festival features live shows on stage, dance performances, parades with stilt walkers, and mascot appearances.“It is my first time visiting the place and my children are enjoying the numerous toys and the activations,” said, Fareed, an Iranian who has been residing in Doha for 25 years. “It is a big area and a very good festival. It also has a lot of sections for painting and art workshops, many games ... this idea is exceptional.”Echoing Tamil’s view, Fareed lauded the festival for creating an environment that encourages children to play actively away from mobile and electronic devices.He plans to return to the festival with his family, saying: “We like the activities at this festival and we want our children to spend their free time here instead of playing games with their phones.”

Gulf Times
Community
Expansion of visa measures for tourists visiting Thailand

Thailand continues to be a highly favoured travel destination for Qatar residents, as it continues to receive a significant number of visitors this year, according to the Thailand embassy in Doha.The embassy noted that it has issued more than 6,000 tourist visas to residents of Qatar. From January – May 2024, Thailand welcomed more than 14M international tourists, including 177,201 visitors from the Middle East and 10,052 Qataris.The Thai government aspires to attract 40 million visitors in 2024, matching the record set in 2019 before the pandemic outbreak. To support this goal, new visa measures have been implanted to enhance the ease of travel for global visitors, including those from Qatar, ensuring they can fully enjoy their time in Thailand.The Thai embassy said the Thai government has enhanced visa-on-arrival (VOA) and visa exemption privileges for tourists. Under the new regulation, nationals of 31 countries and territories can apply for VOA at Thailand’s immigration checkpoints, allowing a stay of up to 15 days for tourism purposes.Additionally, nationals of 93 countries and territories are eligible for visa exemption for stays of up to 60 days for tourism and short-term business engagements.This stay can be extended for an additional period not exceeding 30 days, at the discretion of the immigration officer. For those wishing to extend their stay for other purposes, it is required to apply for the appropriate visa type in Thailand before the end of the permitted period of stay.Furthermore, the Thai government has introduced the Destination Thailand Visa (DTV). This Visa is designed for individuals traveling to Thailand to work as a digital nomad or freelancer, or to participate in activities such as Muay Thai courses, Thai cooking classes, sports training, medical treatment, seminars, and music festivals. This DTV allows individuals to stay in Thailand for up to 180 days per entry, with a five-year validity.Earlier this year, the embassy launched an online e-Visa application platform. Any national with a residence permit in the State of Qatar who wishes to apply for a Thai visa must submit their application, supporting documents, and pay the application fee online through the new online Thai E-Visa platform at https://www.thaievisa.go.th/. It is no longer required for applicants to submit their passports and original supporting documents at the embassy in Doha.For further information on the conditions and requirements for VOA and visa exemptions, please visit the Embassy’s website at https://doha.thaiembassy.org/.

Engr Mohammed al-Meer.
Qatar
Katara's TSE plant saves cost and water

The newly unveiled Treated Sewage Effluent (TSE) Polishing Plant at Katara – the Cultural Village, not only saves costs and water but also enhances the area’s appeal as a destination, according to Katara Project director general, Engineer Mohammed al-Meer.The Katara official told Gulf Times that using high-quality treated water for irrigation promotes healthier plant growth and reduces heat stress on green areas, making Katara even more attractive to residents and visitors.“This will hopefully make the public aware of our efforts to not only provide, maintain and improve Katara – the Cultural Village as one of the major leisure and tourist destinations in Qatar but, to do that in a way which is sustainable, both economically and environmentally,” he said, highlighting the importance of raising awareness about the project’s positive impact and its benefits to the public.In addition, Eng al-Meer explained that the removal of corrosive minerals from the TSE water during the polishing process increases the lifespan of cooling equipment, leading to further cost savings and reduced maintenance.About ensuring compliance of the plant's design with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change’s (MOECC) wastewater treatment parameters, he said: “As with any treatment process, there is a waste element, in this case, salt water, technically termed ‘Brine Rejection’; the MOECC imposes very strict parameters on the ‘Brine Rejection’ quality and this process and end product is fully co-ordinated and approved by them”.He stressed that the plant’s design ensures ample capacity to accommodate Katara's future expansions and the increasing demand for water across the country.“As for the entire country, the potential is obviously there to utilise similar installations in other locations and developments subject to the availability of TSE water and the particular requirements of Government and individual developers,” Eng al-Meer said.He noted that the Katara Project aims to transition from using potable water supplied by Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) to utilising readily available TSE water provided by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal).Eng. al-Meer said that Katara is also actively exploring ways to further promote sustainability, such as inviting university students to conduct research at the plant, fostering knowledge sharing and promoting best practices within the sector.Katara has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country, a melting pot of art, culture, and entertainment. Its diverse offerings cater to all tastes, from exploring the intricate details of traditional Qatari architecture to immersing oneself in vibrant art and music that celebrates the nation’s heritage.Katara’s calendar features an array of events, covering traditional architecture, art exhibitions, and theatrical performances, among other activities and attractions.

Gulf Times
Qatar
Qatar Toy Festival returns bigger and better, bringing fun for the whole family    

The second edition of the Qatar Toy Festival kicked off yesterday (July 15) at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, welcoming a large number of children and their families in Qatar and neighboring GCC countries.The event, organised by Visit Qatar, promises to be a crowd-pleaser, offering a wide range of live shows, exclusive activations, and educational entertainment for children and adults until August 14.“We're thrilled to bring back the Qatar Toy Festival, and this year, it's bigger and better than ever,” Visit Qatar spokesperson Deena al-Jefairi told reporters on the sidelines of the event’s opening. She said they’ve added new zones, new brands, and more exciting activities for visitors to enjoy.This year's festival boasts an expanded footprint, occupying more than 17,000 sqm of indoor space, featuring 10 themed zones. Three new zones – Anime, Movie Land, and Retail – join the returning favourites: Preschool, Girls, Boys, Family, Stage, F&B, and Theming Area.A visitor said an anime activation would be a perfect fit for the festival, highlighting the increasing popularity of anime and cartoons in Qatar. This, he pointed out, led to a growing community of artists, cosplayers, and passionate fans eager to celebrate their shared love of the genre.The festival witnessed the participation of more than 50 international brands, including beloved favourites like Barbie and Naruto, alongside newcomers such as Mr Bean and Barney.AL-Jefairi said the festival’s stage will host a total of 19 live shows, featuring concerts, musical performances, dance shows, parades, and live mascot appearances. One of the highlights of the event includes the participation of popular influencers, including Rasha Rizg, the Adnaan family, the Tarfaan family, Fawzi Muzi, Blippi, and Masaka Kidz, who will engage audiences with their unique style and energy.She said the festival aims to create an unforgettable experience for families, offering a chance for children to engage with their favourite characters, participate in interactive activities, and create lasting memories.Al-Jefairi added that the Qatar Toy Festival forms part of Visit Qatar’s broader initiative, “Summer in Qatar”, which provides a diverse range of activities across amusement parks, beaches, and indoor entertainment spaces.“We have something for everyone, and we want people from the GCC and beyond to know they are welcome to come and enjoy,” al-Jefairi stressed.With packages available to cater to visitors seeking a complete summer experience, she said Qatar Tourism continues to invest in innovative and sustainable cooling technologies for both indoor and outdoor activities.Al-Jefairi sees this unique festival becoming a mainstay on the Qatar Tourism Calendar, saying: “We want to keep this event going. Each year, we will strive to bring even more international brands, more exciting activities, and reach audiences from across the region and beyond”.The festival is open from Sunday to Wednesday between 2pm and 10pm, and from Thursday to Saturday between 2pm and 11pm. Tickets can be purchased online at Q-Tickets.com, virginmegastore.com, or in person at the DECC entry gates.

Gulf Times
Qatar
Qatar Museums hosts World Population Day 2024 commemoration in collaboration with the Permanent Population Committee

Qatar Museums (QM) hosted the World Population Day 2024 commemoration yesterday (July 15), in collaboration with the Permanent Population Committee at the National Museum of Qatar.As the designated host for this year’s commemoration, QM reaffirmed its commitment to fostering global dialogue on population issues, echoing the priorities set by the United Nations.World Population Day serves as a vital platform to raise awareness about global population challenges and advocate for sustainable solutions. This year’s event brought together representatives from governmental bodies, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, and academia to discuss strategies and initiatives aimed at advancing population-related agendas.Abdullatif al-Jasmi, director of Cultural Heritage Protection at QM, emphasised the significance of hosting World Population Day, saying: “Qatar Museums is honoured to host World Population Day this year, highlighting our commitment to safeguarding our cultural heritage and promoting its understanding and appreciation. By transforming expert research into engaging narratives, we aim to make Qatar's rich history accessible and relevant to all visitors. Our efforts preserve these sites and inspire a sense of ownership, pride, and responsibility among communities, ensuring their protection for future generations.”With a belief in creating value through invention, QM animates everything it does with an authentic connection to Qatar and its heritage, a steadfast commitment to inclusivity and accessibility.

Gulf Times
Qatar
Visit Qatar’s Euro 2024 activations draw large crowds 

Visit Qatar has successfully concluded its dynamic line-up of activations held during UEFA Euro 2024 in Germany, as part of its partnership with UEFA.The initiative aims to showcase Qatar’s cultural richness and hospitality to a diverse European audience through a series of engaging and immersive experiences.During the UEFA Euro 2024, Visit Qatar introduced The Doha Club activation at Berlin’s Fan Zone Reichstag and Munich’s Fan Zone Olympiapark. The Doha Club welcomed approximately 45,000 fans, offering a modern beach club atmosphere where visitors could immerse themselves in Qatari culture.Guests indulged in local delicacies like Qahwa (Arabic coffee) and Karak (milk tea), experienced traditional Qatari hospitality, and enjoyed activities such as footvolley and trying on the Qatari Bisht.In a press statement, HE Saad bin Ali al-Kharji, chairman of Qatar Tourism and the Board of Director of Visit Qatar, said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to the Spanish team for their well-earned victory. We are pleased with our ongoing UEFA partnership, which has provided a platform for a seamless cross -cultural integration during Europe's number one football tournament. This partnership underscores Qatar's status as a premier sports destination and builds upon our proud legacy of hosting major sports events.”He added: “The activities organised by Visit Qatar during the tournament, which offered insight into the unique fusion of Qatar's authenticity and modernity that truly have been warmly welcomed by European fans.”Eng Abdulaziz Ali al-Mawlawi CEO of Visit Qatar, said: “We have successfully concluded our activations at Euro 2024. We are delighted with the great turnout and the enthusiasm for the Doha Club at the fan zones in both Berlin and Munich.”He added: “Through this initiative, we helped familiarise fans from all over the world with Qatar’s culture and hospitality. Visit Qatar’s aim was to leverage the tournament’s extensive reach and popularity to promote Qatar as a premier tourist destination across key markets in Europe.”In addition to the on-ground activations, Visit Qatar launched a high-impact campaign featuring the UEFA Euro 2024 trophy to promote its ‘Stopover in Qatar’ initiative. The campaign was broadcasted across 49 media channels in key European markets, showcasing Qatar’s iconic landmarks and encouraging travellers to explore the country during layovers and short stays.Furthermore, Visit Qatar partnered with COPA90, a leading football platform, to create engaging content featuring key football influencers and the football legend Rio Ferdinand, aimed at promoting Qatar as a must-visit travel destination.Both activations fostered association between UEFA Euro 2024 and Visit Qatar through ticket giveaways. More than 30 lucky winners had an opportunity to attend UEFA Euro 2024 matches, further engaging audiences and enhancing the overall fan experience.Moreover, Visit Qatar’s role as the Presenting Partner of Euro 2024 Fantasy Football elevated engagement through various digital platforms. This year, almost 3.7M fans participated in Fantasy Football, with the grand prize winner receiving a trip to Qatar for two.Looking ahead, Qatar continues to strengthen its position as a premier host of international sporting events, with preparations underway for the 2027 FIBA Basketball World Cup and the 2030 Asian Games, among others. These efforts underscore Qatar’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and organisational capabilities for mega sporting events.

Gulf Times
Qatar
QT and Educational Services Centres Management at Moehe host workshop on hotel hall reservations procedures 

Qatar Tourism (QT), in co-operation with the Educational Services Centres Management at the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (Moehe), held a special workshop to clarify the procedures and mechanisms for reserving and booking hotel halls by educational service centres.The workshop comes within the framework of strengthening co-operation between QT and Moehe, and QT’s commitment to continuous communication and co-ordination with its partners in the governmental and private sectors. This also aims to advance the hospitality sector and ensure the quality of the content and services provided by the educational services centres.The workshop was presented by Eman Ali al-Nuaimi, director of Educational Services Centres in the private education sector at Moehe. During the workshop, representatives from hotels in Qatar received a comprehensive presentation regarding the requirements educational service centres must fulfill to reserve halls in hotels for their events.The primary condition emphasised was that institutions need prior approval from Moehe. Additionally, they must present a valid educational license along with their application for event and conference reservations.In a press statement, Mohamed al-Ansari, director of the Tourism Licensing Department at QT, said: “We are pleased to collaborate with Moehe to conduct this workshop, the goal is to clarify the procedures and protocols for reserving hotel halls by educational service centres."Our objective is to safeguard the interests of accredited companies in the tourism sector, improve service excellence, enhance the overall reputation of the hospitality industry, and uphold high-quality standards."Al-Ansari affirmed QT’s commitment to ongoing collaboration with all stakeholders in the country to enhance the efficiency and transparency of tourism-related services.Eman Ali al-Nuaimi, director of Educational Services Centres Management, stated that one of their priorities is to ensure the quality of services provided by training centres and to enhance the creation of an attractive and stimulating environment to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030.This could be achieved through ensuring the quality of the content provided and encouraging investors to create a safe environment that contributes to structured and consistent learning. This has been accomplished in collaboration with QT and hotel representatives.

Omar al-Jaber. (supplied picture)
Qatar
Michelin Guide to elevate Qatar’s dining scene and hospitality sector

Qatar’s culinary landscape is poised for a major transformation as the Michelin Guide arrives in Doha for its 2025 selection, promising to elevate the country’s dining scene and hospitality industry to unprecedented heights, a Qatar Tourism (QT) official said.“This recognition acts as a powerful catalyst for tourism, attracting discerning travellers who rely on the Guide to discover exceptional dining experiences. Many travellers plan their visits around Michelin-starred establishments, underscoring Doha’s appeal as a destination committed to culinary quality and innovation,” Omar al-Jaber, acting chief of the Tourism Development Sector at QT, told Gulf Times.He noted that the Michelin Guide unveils Doha’s diverse culinary landscape, inviting travellers to embark on a gastronomic journey. From authentic Arabic and Middle Eastern flavours to a world of international cuisines, it promises enriching experiences that will leave a lasting impression on every visitor.QT recently announced the Guide’s expansion to Doha, marking the Guide’s commitment to highlighting global culinary scenes and promoting travel culture, a mission it has maintained since its founding in 1900.Al-Jaber said the Guide’s arrival will stimulate healthy competition within Qatar’s culinary landscape. This, he added, will encourage restaurants to constantly innovate and enhance their offerings, leading to a more diverse and sophisticated dining scene for both residents and visitors.He added that service excellence across the sector will further complement the Guide’s influence, ensuring that every aspect of a visitor’s dining and hospitality experience in Doha meets the highest standards.“We are particularly proud of this partnership as it signifies Qatar’s commitment to nurturing culinary talent and promoting luxury and quality. Doha has become a magnet for skilled chefs and professionals who see our city as a hub of opportunity for their creative expression and career advancement,” he pointed out.The QT official expressed confidence that this international acclaim will undoubtedly draw more tourists seeking memorable dining experiences, thereby boosting the local economy and hospitality sector.“This growth not only supports local employment but also encourages skill development and career advancement for individuals passionate about culinary arts and hospitality,” al-Jaber added.He said Doha’s inclusion in the Michelin Guide’s global restaurant selections is expected to have a ripple effect throughout the region, promoting travel culture and culinary experiences in Qatar and the wider Middle East.Sharing a glimpse into the Michelin inspectors’ journey during their review process, al-Jaber said that they have likely encountered a variety of unique culinary trends and an eclectic mix of dining experiences that showcase the city’s diversity and innovation in gastronomy.He said the inspectors have been immersing themselves in both high-end restaurants and hidden gems across different neighbourhoods, ensuring a thorough and independent evaluation.By adhering to Michelin’s rigorous evaluation criteria, al-Jaber said such collaboration ensures that Doha remains at the forefront of culinary excellence, offering fresh and enticing experiences to visitors.According to al-Jaber, the decision to expand the Michelin Guide to Doha was driven by a number of compelling factors, demonstrating Qatar’s commitment to culinary excellence.“Qatar is rapidly emerging as a prominent global travel destination, blending rich Arabian traditions with a welcoming atmosphere that has captivated visitors worldwide for decades,” he said. “This unique cultural tapestry provides an ideal backdrop for showcasing diverse culinary experiences, making Doha a natural choice for the Michelin Guide's expansion”.Highlighting QT’s key role in supporting the arrival of the Michelin Guide through several strategic initiatives, al-Jaber said: “This partnership ensures that our finest dining establishments are prominently recognised for their exceptional quality and service.“By showcasing these venues, we aim to elevate their profiles on a global stage, attracting discerning travellers who seek unparalleled culinary experiences”.

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Qatar
Qatar lauded for sending forces to secure Olympics

French ambassador Jean-Baptiste Faivre lauded the Qatari government for its significant contribution to the security of the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.Qatar is sending more than 100 security personnel to bolster France’s efforts in ensuring the safety and security of the prestigious sporting event.“Paris will become the capital of sports in less than two weeks from now. My country is proud to host the world, and I would like to extend my warmest thanks to the Qatari authorities who will support France in securing the Olympics.“As much as Qatar was able to count on France during the World Cup (2022), I know France can rely on Qatar for the Olympic Games,” Faivre continued. “That is what friends and allies are for. And I wish the best of luck to the 14 Qatari athletes who have recently been nominated to participate in the Olympics”, the ambassador told reporters at a press briefing on Thursday, stressing the strong bond between Qatar and France.Faivre highlighted the growing strategic partnership between the two nations, particularly in the area of security. He said such co-operation is formalised through an administrative agreement signed last February, which paved the way for the deployment of Qatari security forces. To Page 2“Something I must insist on calling it in the press as a strategic partnership, it is something unique. If you look to the other countries who are contributing on that level, we don’t have a lot.“You may have a few which are very close neighbours to France, but the role of Qatar here is well represented, and it is really the follow-up to what France has done during the World Cup (2022)”, he pointed out.The Qatari security forces will participate in various aspects of security operations, including specialised teams and logistical support. This participation underscores the experience gained by Qatari security forces in managing and securing major international events, solidifying their reputation as a global leader in this domain.Beyond security, the ambassador also lauded the strong cultural exchange between the two countries. He cited the recent visit of over 30 Qatari young leaders from the Qatar Leadership Centre, led by HE QM chairperson Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani.“We are working closely with Qatar Museums and I know in this framework there have been some exhibitions organised by QM in France regarding the Olympic Games”, Faivre said, pointing to the recently signed co-operation agreement between the French Ministry of Culture and QM.

Gulf Times
Qatar
Envoy hails deepening Qatar-France partnership

Qatar and France have deepened their strategic partnership with a renewed focus on co-operation, marked by high-level diplomacy and joint efforts to address global challenges, French ambassador Jean-Baptiste Faivre has said.Speaking at a press briefing marking French National Day, the ambassador highlighted the two countries’ close collaboration, particularly in the ongoing conflict in Gaza.“France is supporting Qatar’s efforts to secure the release of all hostages, achieve an immediate and sustainable ceasefire, and ultimately lead to a political solution,” Faivre said.This support, he noted, translates into concrete actions, including joint humanitarian initiatives such as the delivery of medicine and ambulances to Gaza, along with a $200mn contribution for the Palestinian population.Faivre stressed that the close diplomatic consultation between Qatar and France is evident in the round-the-clock communication between officials from both countries.He underlined the importance of such a collaborative approach which goes beyond the Gaza conflict, extending to critical situations like the war in Ukraine, where the security of Europe hangs in the balance.The ambassador lauded Qatar’s participation in the Summit of Peace in June in Switzerland and its successful mediation efforts in returning Ukrainian children to their families. In addition, both countries are committed to supporting Lebanon in its efforts to regain stability and unity.“We are also very grateful to Qatar for its position based I would say under the key principles of international law, respect of sovereignty of state which is very important to France and to Qatar,” he said.Faivre cited the exceptional number of high-level visits between the two countries in recent years, including four visits by the French president to Doha and three visits by His Highness the Amir to France. These exchanges, he said, have culminated in two strategic dialogues, with a third planned for the coming months in Paris.“I think the best reflection of the renewed strength of the strategic partnership between France and Qatar was His Highness’ State visit to France last February. It was the first State visit in 15 years. A State visit is a great mark of friendship and trust,” he stressed.Beyond diplomacy, Faivre said such partnership covers economic and investment collaborations, with cross-investments in both countries benefiting from their respective economic strategies. The focus is on key sectors like energy transition, semiconductors, artificial intelligence, and health. Bilateral trade between France and Qatar reached over €6.4bn during 2022-2023.He also acknowledged France’s recent democratic elections, highlighting the high voter turnout and the importance of debate within French society.Faivre said France will also host the 19th Francophonie Summit in October, and Qatar’s participation is expected. This event, he added, signifies the commitment to co-operation and shared values between the two nations.

Qatar offers a year-round of curated experiences for visitors, including transit passengers. PICTURES: Visit Qatar
Qatar
Qatar has plenty to offer tourists all year round

Qatar is stepping up its efforts to become a year-round tourism destination, offering a unique blend of modern and traditional experiences to cater to diverse travellers, it is learnt.From culture enthusiasts to adventure seekers and luxury aficionados, Qatar promises something for everyone.The country is known for its world-class Hamad International Airport (HIA), which offers transit passengers seamless connections and a variety of amenities, including comfortable lounges, world-class shopping, and delectable dining options.For luxury lovers, Qatar boasts a range of world-class hotels offering opulent accommodations, exquisite dining, and unparalleled service.With discounted hotel rates and packages available during the summer low season, it presents an affordable luxury destination.“The all-inclusive beach experience was a boon for boosting the flow on beach experiences; from luxury dinning, ease of access to multiple water sport activities, and the accessibility of multiple and affordable luxury day-use experiences,” Outing Qatar founder and managing director Mosaad Moustafa Eleiwa told Gulf Times.“The increasing demand for sea experiences like renting a luxury yacht, spending family outing at one of the pristine beaches makes a memorable experience,” he said.Eleiwa added that Qatar is increasingly becoming a hub for international events, some of which take place during the summer months.According to Visit Qatar, the country’s coastline offers a wealth of aquatic activities.Scuba divers can explore vibrant coral reefs and diverse marine life, while kitesurfing and other water sports provide an adrenaline rush.In summer, visitors can enjoy warm waters and beaches while the cooler winter months offer vibrant festivals and events.For those seeking a cultural immersion, the iconic National Museum of Qatar (NMoQ), a stunning architectural masterpiece, showcases the country’s rich history and heritage, from ancient pearling to the modern era.Visit Qatar noted that the bustling Souq Waqif, a historic marketplace, allows visitors to wander through labyrinthine alleys, shop for spices, textiles, and Qatari handicrafts, and experience the country’s vibrant past.Katara – the Cultural Village, a vibrant hub for art, culture, and entertainment, offers a diverse range of experiences.From exploring traditional architecture to enjoying art and music that celebrate Qatari heritage, Katara hosts a myriad of events, including exhibitions, art displays, and theatrical performances.Katara Hills, one of Qatar’s largest public parks, provides a tranquil escape with abundant greenery, plants and trees from different continents, and scenic streams.Qatar’s desert landscape has been attracting adventure seekers with its thrilling dune-bashing expeditions, exploring the inland sea of Khor Al Adaid, and camping under the starry desert sky.

France ambassador Jean-Baptiste Faivre
Qatar
Deepening ties

Qatar and France have deepened their strategic partnership with a renewed focus on co-operation, marked by high-level diplomacy and joint efforts to address global challenges, French ambassador Jean-Baptiste Faivre has said.Speaking at a press briefing marking French National Day, the ambassador highlighted the two countries’ close collaboration, particularly in the ongoing conflict in Gaza.“France is supporting Qatar’s efforts to secure the release of all hostages, achieve an immediate and sustainable ceasefire, and ultimately lead to a political solution,” Faivre said.This support, he noted, translates into concrete actions, including joint humanitarian initiatives such as the delivery of medicine and ambulances to Gaza, along with a $200 million contribution for the Palestinian population.Faivre stressed that the close diplomatic consultation between Qatar and France is evident in the round-the-clock communication between officials from both countries.He underlined the importance of such a collaborative approach which goes beyond the Gaza conflict, extending to critical situations like the war in Ukraine, where the security of Europe hangs in the balance.The ambassador lauded Qatar’s participation in the Summit of Peace in June in Switzerland and its successful mediation efforts in returning Ukrainian children to their families. In addition, both countries are committed to supporting Lebanon in its efforts to regain stability and unity.“We are also very grateful to Qatar for its position based I would say under the key principles of international law, respect of sovereignty of state which is very important to France and to Qatar,” he said.Faivre cited the exceptional number of high-level visits between the two countries in recent years, including four visits by the French President to Doha and three visits by His Highness the Amir to France. These exchanges, he said, have culminated in two strategic dialogues, with a third planned for the coming months in Paris.“I think the best reflection of the renewed strength of the strategic partnership between France and Qatar was His Highness’ State visit to France last February. It was the first State visit in 15 years. A State visit is a great mark of friendship and trust,” he stressed.Beyond diplomacy, Faivre said such partnership covers economic and investment collaborations, with cross-investments in both countries benefiting from their respective economic strategies. The focus is on key sectors like energy transition, semiconductors, artificial intelligence, and health. Bilateral trade between France and Qatar reached over €6.4 billion during 2022-2023.He also acknowledged France’s recent democratic elections, highlighting the high voter turnout and the importance of debate within French society.Faivre said France will also host the 19th Francophonie Summit in October, and Qatar’s participation is expected. This event, he added, signifies the commitment to cooperation and shared values between the two nations.

Visit Qatar highlights five destinations in Doha, including Galeries Lafayette within 21 High st, which offer a diverse range of experiences while ensuring a comfortable outdoor setting despite the summer heat. -screengrab from Visit Qatar
Qatar
Beat the heat with air-conditioned outdoor spots

Qatar's soaring summer temperatures provide an opportunity for residents and visitors to spend their holidays and explore the city’s leading air-conditioned outdoor destinations.“Don’t let the temperatures stop you from enjoying outdoor sessions,” Qatar Tourism’s official website, Visit Qatar, posted on its social media channels.First on the list is West Walk, an innovative district at Al Waab, which promises a modern live-work-play experience with its Promenade avenues, boasting a year-round comfortable climate.While popular in the cold months, West Walk continues to attract many visitors during this period, thanks to its outdoor air-conditioning system.Another popular place is Al Hazm, described as ‘Qatar’s most luxurious and extravagant destination’, offering a unique experience for guests: from luxury fashion houses to lavishly decorated restaurants and cafes, in addition to its architectural splendor. Handcrafted Tuscan marble adorns its corridors and interior walls, creating a fancy and grand atmosphere.Visitors can also walk around Al Hazm’s central gardens, sit in the shade, or look out from a little hill overlooking the water fountains and flower garden.Al Hazm also features a state-of-the-art outdoor cooling system and heat-absorbing marble floors, making it a comfortable throughout the year.Beyond traditional luxury shopping, Galeries Lafayette, located within 21 High st at Katara – the Cultural Village, offers a unique outdoor destination, blending retail and open-air ambiance.Katara itself hosts numerous cultural events and activities, attracting a large number of visitors to the area. With its diverse mix of fashion, jewellery, accessories, art, restaurants, and cafes, 21 High st offers a vibrant experience for all.Place Vendome in Lusail hosts more than 560 retail outlets, including a luxury wing dedicated to top designer labels. It features a canal running directly from the sea, creating a stunning open plaza with cafes and restaurants overlooking the water. The centre is a huge attraction for residents and visitors, offering a combination of entertainment and retail options.Souq Waqif, with its labyrinthine alleys, ancient mud-brick buildings, and vibrant street life, transports visitors back in time, making it a beloved destination year-round.Shoppers can find Middle Eastern merchandise, handicrafts, and unique souvenirs at Souq Waqif. Live music, art, and cultural shows add to the ambiance, making it a truly immersive experience.It is learnt that these five destinations offer a diverse range of experiences while ensuring a comfortable outdoor setting despite the summer heat.