Friday, December 01, 2023 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
 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.
Purnima Sheth showcases Rose's latest jewellery pieces. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Indian jeweller Rose launches new collection at DJWE

Rose, one of India’s leading jewellery houses, is launching its Rocks N Rose fine jewellery collection at the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition's (DJWE) Alfardan Jewellery pavilion.Featuring unique and exquisite pieces, Rose founder and senior sales director – Luxury Purnima Sheth told Gulf Times that the jeweller will be exhibiting its iconic Colours of Life and Opera collections, as well as Rocks N Rose that combines 1 carat solitaires with colour stones and coloured gold in a unique Rose way."These statement pieces are perfect for daily wear and can be dressed up and down depending on the occasion. We look forward to an exciting DJWE that will surpass all our expectations. After a tremendous response and welcome by the Qatari people, Rose has now launched four shops in Doha in partnership with Alfardan," she said.About the opportunities during and after the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of the design of pieces/collection, sales, expansion, and target clients, Sheth said: “The Covid-19 pandemic gave us a lot of time to regroup and rethink our strategies. Ever since, we have launched a collection of fine jewellery and expanded our footprint with four shops in Doha and one in Dubai, along with our partners Alfardan. These have helped us grow almost 50% since pre Covid levels.”The 42-year-old company from India has been participating in the DJWE as part of the Alfardan Group in the last nine years. Apart from its two retail stores for jewellery in Mumbai and Delhi, Rose also operated a multi-brand watch store in Mumbai.“This is the first year DJWE will be back in February since 2020 and we are very optimistic and excited about the turnout and sales,” Sheth added.

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wan Group has been internationally developing its activity around the Tahitian Pearl, constantly improving the quality of these unique gems and pursuing ultimate perfection.
Robert Wan unveils new collections at DJWE

Robert Wan, a global market leader for the most luxurious and beautifully-crafted Tahitian pearls, is revealing its new collection, inspired by Middle East trends and traditions at the 19th edition of Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE), which opened Monday.“The new collection, ‘Amulette’, the new timeless icon of extraordinary glamour is the perfect illustration of the delicate craftsmanship used in creating Robert Wan Fine Jewellery Collections. The Amulette collection pays tribute as well to the natural beauty of Polynesia using various pearls colours in mixed shape to highlight the beauty of the gem,” Robert Wan general manager Wafa Habbar said.As it encircles the neck, she said “the Amulette necklace reigns over the collection like a Queen. The set also comprises a pair of 18k gold earrings and a ring. Sparkles set defines the extraordinary, the elegance and the exoticness contrasting the smoothness of the pearl with the ridges of diamond, against feminine yellow or white gold”.For more than 40 years, the Robert Wan Group has been internationally developing its activity around the Tahitian Pearl, constantly improving the quality of these unique gems and pursuing ultimate perfection.Habbar said Robert Wan is presenting around six collections (including the Arab World-inspired Amulette) at the DJWE Alfardan pavilion, taking place at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre until February 25.About the Covid-19 pandemic challenges, she noted that the global health crisis in 2020 was challenging for all jewelers since “we don’t know what to expect, it’s hard to prevision our targets as the market is unusual.”“It also restricted us to take risks with creating high-end pieces. However, we have survived the pandemic, still alive with our beautiful pearls and very optimistic for the future,” said Habbar.She also lauded Qatar for successfully organising the FIFA World Cup 2022, saying “Doha hosted the World Cup perfectly and exceeded all expectations, so we believe that that market here will just get better”.

Gulf Times
PM inaugurates Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition

The 19th edition of the Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition (DJWE) kicked off Monday at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, showcasing limited-edition pieces and an extensive display of luxury collections from more than 500 brands.HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani inaugurated the exhibition and toured the pavilions, where he was briefed on the most prominent collections displayed by Qatari and international companies participating in DJWE. He was also briefed on the most important new designs of jewellery, watches and rare gemstones, Qatar News Agency reported.The opening ceremony was attended by a number of sheikhs and ministers, members of the diplomatic corps accredited to the State, senior officials and businesspersons, as well as representatives of the exhibiting companies.The ceremony was also attended by celebrities and famous personalities, including Irina Shayk, Nasser al-Attiyah, Mutaz Barsham and others.HE Sheikh Khalid toured the elegant pavilions created by Qatar’s leading jewellery brands and had a private viewing of some of their latest collections at DJWE – dubbed as the longest-running event in Qatar’s annual social calendar.Unique to DJWE’s latest edition is an auditory element to its campaign, featuring an exclusive musical score created by renowned Qatari composer Dana Alfardan.In a press statement, Qatar Tourism Chairman and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said: “Over the past two decades, we’ve seen DJWE become the epitome of luxury and design, offering thousands of visitors a truly unforgettable experience. The combination of visitors being able to directly meet and interact with renowned designers and new participants like regional powerhouse Damas, will make this year’s edition even more of a success.”The six-day event, which brought together local and international designers under one roof, provides an opportunity for visitors to see an extensive display of luxury collections from more than 500 brands.Showcasing rare and exceptional jewellery and timepieces from the most prominent jewellers, Qatar Tourism stressed that DJWE proved to be “a one-of-a-kind and currently the region’s largest business-to-consumer show”.The event was organised by Qatar Tourism and Qatar Business Events Corporation with Qatar Airways as the Official Airline Partner and Qatar National Bank as the Official Sponsor.QNB Group’s Chief Business Officer Yousef Mahmoud al-Neama said: “QNB Group is proud of its participation as the Official Sponsor for the 19th edition of DJWE, which has become the mark of luxury in Qatar and the region.“Sponsoring this event, which established an annual tradition for the Bank, affirms our commitment to support national events and implement the Qatar National Vision 2030 aimed at diversifying the local economy.“In addition, our participation provides an important opportunity to position the QNB brand among the world’s finest luxury brands, while encouraging local talents. I wish the exhibition a great success, and all guests and participants a most rewarding and enjoyable time at this much-anticipated annual event.”Speaking on Education Above All Foundation’s (EAA) partnership series of “Designing With a Purpose” and their long-running collaboration with DJWE which featured jewellery brand partnerships in the past such as Chopard, Richard Mille, and now special designs by Valentino and Qatari jewelers for DJWE 2023, EAA’s Director of Partnerships, Parintaj Ankleshvria, said: “We appreciate the organisers of DJWE supporting EAA’s mission to transform lives through education.“Awareness and money raised from these unique jewellery collaborations will support EAA’s commitment to bringing new life chances, real hope and opportunities to improve the lives of poor and marginalised children, youth and women especially in the developing world through access to inclusive and equitable quality education.”Alfardan Group Vice-Chairman and Alfardan Jewellery President Ali Alfardan said: “Once again, Alfardan Jewellery will exhibit an unparalleled collection at the 19th edition of DJWE, highlighting unique and elegant gems and pieces, even from our very own Qatari brand. We thank all our customers and visitors for their encouragement as always.”Speaking on Ali Bin Ali Luxury’s participation in the region’s most important jewellery and watches exhibition, Ali Bin Ali Luxury COO Awn Zureikat said: “DJWE is truly a global platform for luxury brands, and it’s getting bigger every year. Ali Bin Ali Luxury is proud of its long-standing association with this landmark event, and we are glad to be a part of this success story, where creativity, exclusivity, art and beauty are all represented at this exhibition.On behalf Al Majed Jewellery, Al Majed Jewellery Vice-Chairman Jamil bin Mahdi al-Majed said: “We are very thrilled to participate in the 19th edition of DJWE and display the latest luxury brands for international and local brands.“This year’s edition of DJWE is special because it is taking place directly following the exceptional FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, which represents a historical turning point for advancing the tourism sector, and the exhibition is an opportunity to host visitors from around the world to attend this distinguished festival.“In line with the traditions of previous editions, Al Majed Jewellery has established new exclusive partnerships with leading brands that will be unveiled during the exhibition in addition to the many brands that operate under the umbrella of Al Majed Jewellery and are achieving unique success in the Qatari market.”For his part, Fifty One East Chairman and Managing Director Bader al-Darwish said: “It gives us great pleasure to return to DJWE for its 19th edition. As longstanding supporters of the DJWE, we have proudly watched this event grow from strength to strength, asserting its status as a regional exhibition leader and shining a powerful light on Qatar’s importance as a destination for appreciators of fine jewellery and watches.“The trust we have built with the DJWE extends to the exceptional brands we represent, with some, such as Rolex, selecting it as the exclusive event besides Watches & Wonders - Geneva to display their latest creations.“We are sincerely pleased to welcome our dear clients to this year’s DJWE where they will be able to explore the latest novelties from the finest international brands, including pieces that are being revealed for the very first time in the world, coupled with our signature hospitality and excellent after-sales service.”Commenting on the participation of Amiri Gems, HE Sheikh Nawaf Nasser Bin Khaled al-Thani said: “Since its inception in 1994, Amiri Gems has actively participated in raising the level of jewelry and precious watches trade in the State of Qatar in proportion to the purchasing power of Qatari citizens, which is considered one of the highest in the world.“Hence, the decision to participate in the permanent annual participation in the DJWE, from its first edition to its 19th edition this year, was the ideal strategic choice for Amiri Gems to continue presenting everything new in the world of luxury, sophistication and beauty.“Finally, we would like to thank those in charge of managing the exhibition for their hospitality, management and development in a significant way, which contributes to increasing the success and reputation of the exhibition regionally and globally.”On behalf of Almuftah Jewellery, AlMuftah Group Chairman AbdulRahman AlMuftah said: “Almuftah Jewellery will showcase the most exquisite jewellery and watches from prominent brands around the world in this year’s DJWE. A picturesque display of the latest styles and designs will be featured. Catch the perfect piece and feel the elegance within you. Every year, I look forward to the DJWE as it comes with its influence and opportunities to meet a number of well-known people and brands in the field, especially that it brings together many names and brands under one roof.“Since 1984, it has been our pleasure to be part of your happy occasions through the presence of our jewellery. And today, we welcome you to the Almuftah Jewellery section at the DJWE 2023 to continue being part of your happy memories.“As always, we are honoured to present at Almuftah Jewellery a collection of luxurious and sophisticated jewellery and watches from many international brands this year, which we hope you will enjoy.”

EAA's ‘designing with a purpose’ partnerships aim to help millions of children and youth to have access to quality education (supplied picture).
EAA to reveal limited-edition Valentino accessories at DJWE

Education Above All (EAA) is set to reveal a limited-edition collection of Valentino accessories at the 19th edition of Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE) – a new partnership that will give a large number of children access to quality education.“This year we are launching a very special collection by the House of Valentino, they are creating three-design jewellery accessories with an Educate A Child (EAC) programme logo, which is one of the programmes that work globally for education,” EAA’s Private Sector Partnerships director Parintaj Ankleshvira told a recent DJWE press conference.The annual event is scheduled to open to Monday at a 33,000 sq m area at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre and will run until February 25, featuring more than 500 jewellery and watches brands from around the globe.Qatar Tourism noted that the most prominent jewellers from Qatar and the world have set up large showcases at DJWE, many of which will be introducing new brands, limited edition collections and extraordinary showpieces.Ankleshvira noted that EAA so far has projects in more than 50 countries across the globe and it helped to get 14.4mn children and youth access to quality education.“These are children we hope to support for a very long time in the future and this is what these partnerships ‘designing with a purpose’ are meant for where major fashion and design houses create special collections, and parts of the proceeds of the sales are given to our education project.“So this year we are very happy to launch Valentino and in the past, we did Chopard, Richard Mille, and Hermes, which were our three collections done and in the 2023 exhibition we are showcasing the Valentino partnership,” she said.According to Ankleshvira, Valentino is creating three special design accessories (two bracelets and a pair of earrings): the classic collection, the V collection, and the V logo collection with a special EAC logo. Other details of the jewellery pieces will be revealed soon.Citing the success of EAA’s previous partnerships, she said these close collaborations not only helped raise funding for a project but also created “a Venice for those 60mn children who still need support in terms of getting access to quality education and that’s what EAA does”.“We create all these private sector partnerships to help support that goal. In terms of funding it depends on the campaign (it depends on each partnership, collection and brand). For example, these jewellery campaigns they go from anywhere from let’s say QR200,000 to QR1mn to QR2mn. The Richard Mille partnership raised almost QR8mn, about 2.5mn Euro,” Ankleshvira said.For the latest edition of the exhibition, EAA is showcasing about 30 pieces but will be launched at the Valentino store.“If you look at the impact that we are having, from our partnerships model, we’ve been able to, the cost of investment for putting one child into primary education, just one child is $125, which is a full primary education.“Imagine being able to educate one child for five years at a cost of $125. That’s the kind of impact you can have if you work with as many partnerships,” Ankleshvira added.

Rose's exquisite jewellery pieces.
DJWE 2023 begins Monday; 500 leading brands to feature

The 19th edition of Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE) is set to open Monday at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, bringing together over 500 leading brands and an expected 30,000 visitors from around the world.DJWE 2023, under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani, will run until February 25 across a 33,000sq m area.“We are pleased to be able to bring together local talents, international designers, exhibitors, respected global brands, and jewellery aficionados who will have the chance to meet again under one roof to nurture creativity, network, discover and grow,” Qatar Tourism (QT) said in a statement.The latest edition of DJWE will also put a spotlight on local brands, under QT’s Qatari Designers’ initiative, which aims to nurture local and creative talents. These include Clair De Lune, De Trove, Ghand Jewellery, H Jewellery, Hessa Jewels, Leila Issam Fine Jewellery, Midad Jewellery, Nouf Jewellery, Swayra Jewellery, and Trifoglio.Ghand Jewellery told Gulf Times that the Qatari Designers’ initiative serves as a platform to showcase their unique pieces, as well as meet people, network, and “develop the designs knowing the market taste and their feedback. Additionally, it helps us to grow our business and get some B2B deals and opportunities.”The QT initiative has provided budding Qatari designers not only exposure and opportunities to debut and showcase their designs but also promote the country and the region's rich culture and heritage through their pieces.DJWE will also showcase a new collection of homegrown jewellery brand Noudar (meaning gold in ancient Arabic), featuring exquisite pieces inspired by the history and timeless legacy of natural pearls in Qatar.Noudar Jewels founder and designer Noor Ali Hussain Alfardan launched the brand in 2012 and the designs have been worn across the globe by the likes of Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, and Kendall Jenner.Besides Noudar, several other brands under the Alfardan pavilion will showcase their collections, including Rose, one of India’s leading jewellery houses; Piranesi, renowned for its rare and exotic stones, unique jewellery designs, and statement pieces; and Robert Wan, a market leader in Tahitian pearls; as well as Chopard, Tiffany, Vacheron Constatin, Marli, Sartoro, Girard-Perregaux, Noudar, Franck Muller, Chaumet, Persee Paris, Yeprem, and Corum.Qatar’s ‘favourite department store’, Fifty One East, will also display a number of unique collections at its pavilion at DJWE.According to QT, this year’s DJWE will see “the return of the Turkish and the Indian pavilions, with vibrant stalls featuring various brands and bespoke designs that each celebrate the unique heritage and culture of these countries”.The exhibition will also witness the debut of regional giant, Damas Jewellery, which is set to reveal its one-of-its-kind Alif collection, a selection of exceptional high-end pieces and unique jewellery creations.Louis Vuitton’s “Fantasy necklace,” a 2.56-carat Monogram flower-cut diamond representing a bold design, will also be unveiled for the first time at the event.Visitors will have the chance to experience the exceptional offerings at two of Qatar Duty Free’s most iconic cafés, Harrod’s Tea Rooms and Venchi, according to the organisers.Phillips, a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st-century art and design, is participating in this year’s DJWE. Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo holds the world record for the most successful watch auctions.

A pair of baguette diamonds cuff links in sterling silver by Ghand Jewellery.
DJWE 2023 to shine spotlight on Qatari designers

The 19th edition of the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition is set to shine a spotlight on Qatari designers, who will be showcasing an array of unique and Arab-inspired creations from February 20 to 25 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre.A platform highlighting Qatar Tourism’s commitment to nurture local and creative talent, the Qatari Designers initiative is to feature their latest and exclusive collections.Established in 2017, the segment has provided some of Qatar’s most recognised contemporary jewellery and watch brands a springboard to elevate their businessesGhand Jewellery (Jawaher & Hissa Mohamed al-Mannai), among other Qatari designers, has confirmed its participation in the annual exhibition, which will bring together more than 500 jewellery and watch brands from around the world.“Beside our signature collections and the popular designs, we continued to expand on the jewellery by designing AlDana collection that has sophisticated details. Additionally, we invite our client and exhibition visitors to discover our new designs of luxury cuff links for men. Elegant and practical, crafted from elegant materials, these are the perfect accessory,” a Ghand Jewellery spokesperson told Gulf Times.Hairaat Jewellery founder Nada al-Sulaiti is one of the successful jewellery designers in Qatar who participated in the initiative as she established her own brand and takes part in DJWE every year.Al-Sulaiti exhibited a commissioned piece – the Sakura Necklace – in 2015, winning two global awards: ‘Merit Award in International Jewellery Design Excellence' (Hong Kong in 2017) and ‘Golden Award from A Design’.The DJWE provides an opportunity for Qatari jewellery designers to showcase their creativity and promote their work alongside renowned luxury brands, including this year’s big nine: Alfardan Jewellery, Ali Bin Ali Luxury, Al Majed Jewellery, Al Muftah Jewellery, Amiri Gems, Bulgari, Blue Salon, Fifty One East and Louis Vuitton.The latest edition of DJWE will feature several activations, giving visitors “an imagined luxury boutique environment as soon as they set foot through the door”.“Central to the activation will be the addition of the DJWE studio, a purpose-built studio on-site where numerous interviews with renowned jewellery and watch experts will take place. With content shared on YouTube, global audiences will be able to tap into the striking conversations and ideas being shared right here in Doha,” an organiser said.

Burwaz collection
High hopes for DJWE 2023, says Qatari lady designer

Renowned homegrown jewellery brand ‘Papillon’ will showcase its bridal collections and several other exquisite pieces that reflect Qatar’s rich culture and heritage at the 19th edition of Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE).“I have a lot of pieces to showcase during the DJWE but this year we are focusing more on the bridal sets (diamond, as well as traditional gold) special for the exhibition,” Papillon owner and designer Noora al-Ansari told a recent media event.Papillon is one of the more than 500 local and international jewellery and watch brands at the DJWE 2023, scheduled to take place from February 20 to 25 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre.Some of the brand’s popular collections such as Dazzah and Solitaire offer jewellery diamond sets and traditional 21karat gold sets ranging from necklace, earrings, and bracelets, in addition to perfumes, oud, and saffron.Papillon showcased some of its popular collections in previous editions of DJWE, including the Royal collection. “Born in the heart of India”, the Royal collection was “inspired by the Maharajas and the classic designs that were first created for the greatest royal families in Europe.”Noora is known as the first Qatari designer who owned and opened a boutique in Qatar. Established in 2011, she said Papillon opened its first boutique at Gulf Mall in 2015 and has moved to the luxury section of Place Vendome.About opportunities during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, Noora said the event allowed Papillon to promote not only its collections but also Qatar’s rich culture and tradition – highlighted in the design of its pieces.“For them (football fans from various parts of the globe), it was more of come and see, to understand our culture. I had a lot of collections that are part of our tradition, the 21karat traditional gold collection.“So they were just stopping by to understand what’s the idea behind the patterns, from where it (every jewellery piece) came, and most of them were more into looking into a nice simple pearl, pendant or earring because they knew that pearls are very much related to our culture and heritage,” al-Ansari said. “FIFA time was amazing, I had the chance to meet a lot of people from Germany, Mexico, Poland, so it was really a nice experience for us”.In buying a jewellery piece, Noora underlined the importance of asking and understanding the ‘4 Cs’: Cut, Clarity, Carat and Colour.“For example, they used to tell us, where is this diamond from? They will tell it is from Belgium, but it’s not only that, you need to ask what you call the four Cs when it comes to jewellery. So no one was explaining this to us until I did my research and then I realised that it’s more than just to say diamonds from Belgium,” Noora added.

Gulf Times
'Strong desire among global travellers to visit Qatar'

Cruise passengers who visit Qatar are highly satisfied with the country’s curated tourism offerings, creating a strong desire for other travellers from around the world to visit the destination, MSC Cruises executive director Angelo Capurro has said.“We see a lot of interest (for tourists to visit Qatar) as a destination so a lot of (our) customers disembark, make excursions and live the experience of the city, and the response we are receiving in terms of satisfaction is quite high,” he explained.Capurro, in Doha recently for an event, cited a record number of cruise passengers who visited Qatar’s popular tourism spots in previous weeks during this 2022-23 cruise season.Like the US and Europe, he noted that Qatar (as a tourism destination), as well as the region, is booming as it continues to receive a huge number of visitors, including those from MSC and other cruise ships.“We are talking about 7,000 passengers every week, it is quite big. Many customers go around, they want to explore the destination, so it means there is a lot of interest,” he said, reiterating that “on top of this... there is always a very high satisfaction coming out of what they are seeing here”.With such demand, Capurro said the company is bringing a new state-of-the-art mega cruise ship to the region next year, which can carry more than 5,000 passengers.Capurro pointed out that the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 also provided a good opportunity for MSC to showcase its product.Three MSC ships of different sizes and capacities – Opera, World Europa and Poesia – served as ‘modern floating hotels’ during the tournament.The MSC executive said the post-World Cup and post-Covid-19 pandemic is a chance for people to explore different destinations, especially Qatar and the region.“The area is wonderful so people can have everything, the city is booming. There are a lot of things to see, there are a lot of things to do – the desert, everything, the nature around, and also the city is offering a lot of stuff.“People want to go back to normality and they understand that cruise is a very safe way to go around without having a lot of stress and this (post Covid-19) is a huge opportunity for us,” Capurro added.

Christian Hirt
Qatar a top luxury destination in the region, says expert

The presence of leading and ultra-luxury hotels in Qatar, as well as various opulent tourism offerings, makes the country a top luxury and leisure destination in the region, Raffles and Fairmont Hotels Doha managing director Christian Hirt has said.“I think if we look at the offerings here, the hotel and restaurant offerings, combined with the cultural offerings, with these wonderful museums that we have here for example – it is definitely targeting the affluent traveller, he said. “Our hotels are a great testament to that.".text-box {float:right; width:450px; padding:10px; border:1pt solid black; margin-top: 10px; margin-right: 15px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 20px;}@media only screen and (max-width: 767px) {.text-box {width: 65%;}}A career spanning four continentsAn accomplished hospitality professional, Christian Hirt has a 26-year career spanning four continents and iconic, luxury hotels.Housed within Lusail’s iconic Katara Towers, the two hotels opened just before the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar and now provide an opportunity for guests to explore their first winter staycation deals valid until the start of Ramadan.Working across the business, leisure and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) segments, he has overseen major property and positioning overhauls, including the conceptualisation of restaurant themes.In 2013, Hirt started a three-year stint as general manager of the five-star Swissotel Sydney in Australia, again heading up a property refurbishment and repositioning and development of a new restaurant concept.In 2016, he went to Turkiye for six years as general manager of the ultra-luxurious Raffles Hotel Istanbul and was responsible for the hotel’s pre-opening, positioning and commercial success of its 185 rooms and suites, 67 residences, nine meeting rooms, two restaurants, patisserie, shops and extensive Raffles Spa.Hirt expanded sales outreach into GCC feeder markets and emerging markets across the Americas, Russia and the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).Besides the world-renowned museums, Hirt said the different leisure facilities that have been established in Qatar recently, such as Al Maha Island and water parks, will attract more regional and international visitors.He added that Qatar’s successful hosting of an amazing tournament such as the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 proved that it can hold major sporting competitions.“We have shown the world that we can do world-class mega events here in Qatar, and I see this as a starting point for us to develop further and to welcome lots of visitors here to the destination,” he said.“We see that there is a great calendar of events for this year, with a really great lineup,” Hirt said, citing the return of the Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition this month, the Qatar Formula 1 Grand Prix in October, the Geneva International Motor Show Qatar in October, the AFC Asian Cup, and Expo 2023, among others.The scheduled events lined up in Doha this year, he noted, will further promote the destination and drive more visitors to Qatar.Hirt said that they have been working closely with Qatar Tourism, Qatar Museums and other partners and institutions in the country to promote the destination, providing curated experiences for visitors.“The support that we're receiving here from Qatar Tourism and a lot of other institutions is absolutely incredible and shows a great commitment from everyone to achieve Qatar National Vision of 2030,” he said.About the two hotels, Hirt said Raffles and Fairmont are a new landmark in Qatar: both distinct and have the same vision, which is “to deliver the ultimate in luxury, in guest service, and in bespoke experiences”.“However, each of the two brands will do this in their individual way,” he added.

Joseph Abdo
QT events to promote Qatar as leading tourism destination post-World Cup

A mix of all the events organised by Qatar Tourism (QT) after the FIFA World Cup 2022 will 'keep the momentum moving on' to promote the country as a leading tourism destination aimed at attracting more visitors, Qatari Investors Group (QIG) CEO Joseph Abdo has said.Speaking on the sidelines of a recent event on board MSC World Europa, Abdo observed that Qatar’s tourism industry is in an ascending trend as it continues to receive an increasing number of tourists post-World Cup and post Covid-19 pandemic.“Many are now coming to Qatar, they didn’t have the chance to attend the World Cup but they are coming here to see where the final has happened, where Messi won,” he said.Abdo added that people want to visit several popular places in Qatar such as Souq Waqif, Msheireb Downtown Doha, and the stadiums, among other destinations in and outside Doha, and “this is good for the tourism, this is what we call the momentum post-World Cup”.The QIG CEO pointed out there is a huge desire for people from different parts of the globe to visit and experience Qatar, which raised the bar and successfully organised a major sporting event, and what it has to offer.This, Abdo said, has built a brand for Qatar, which showed a high sense of responsibility and professionalism in organising the event, in addition to the high level of safety and security throughout the World Cup.He added that the scheduled events in Qatar this year such as the Formula 1, AFC Asian Cup, and other major sports competitions, as well as cultural events and entertainment shows, will further boost the country’s tourism.“In between, you have some artistic events that are happening and these are always good, a mix between culture, sports, social, and business also, which will help attract more tourists,” Abdo said.Citing the key role of cruise tourism in bringing more visitors to the country, he noted that by the end of this cruise season (running from November to April), around 200,000 passengers have come to Qatar.Abdo cited a growing number of cruise passengers from Qatar as more people become aware of the product that cruise ships offer.“We started at 150 to 200 and now we reached 920 (for MSC). A good average today is around 600 to 700. We see it increasing because people are more and more aware of the product. Now with this agreement, we are going to increase the awareness through social media, the contacts that we have with key companies,” he added.

HE Akbar al-Baker (centre) with Qatar Tourism's Shared Services director Omar Abdulrahman al-Jaber (left) and QNB's Group chief business officer Yousef Mahmoud al-Neama at the DJWE press conference Sunday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
DJWE 2023 to showcase global debut of rare jewellery

A number of novelty pieces and collections such as Louis Vuitton’s 'Fantasy necklace' will be showcased for the first time at the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE), set from February 20 to 25 at the Doha Exhibition and Conference Centre (DECC)."Louis Vuitton's 2.56-carat Monogram flower-cut diamond represents the kind of bold design that is the hallmark of DJWE,” Qatar Tourism chairman and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker told a press conference Sunday.Large number of international visitors expectedWith 96 countries granted visa on arrival in Qatar, Qatar Tourism (QT) is looking forward to welcoming a large number of international visitors at DJWE 2023, which will run in the midst of QT’s ‘Feel Winter in Qatar’ seasonal campaign.“Returning to the DECC this year, visitors can marvel at the exquisite craftsmanship of over 500 globally admired jewellery and watch brands during the event. Many of Qatar’s leading jewellery brands will be revealing their latest collections, providing guests with plenty of reasons to visit,” he explained.Under the patronage of HE Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani, DJWE’s 19th edition will bring together the most prominent local and international jewellers, including Alfardan Jewellery, Ali Bin Ali Luxury, Al Majed Jewellery, Al Muftah Jewellery, Amiri Gems, Bulgari, Blue Salon, Fifty One East and Louis Vuitton in a 33,000sqm venue.Exhibitors will be showcasing new brands, limited-edition collections, and exceptional luxury pieces, including the debut of regional giant Damas Jewellery and the reveal of its unique Alif collection.New to this year’s exhibition is an exciting partnership with internationally-renowned Qatari composer, Dana Alfardan, who created the campaign’s musical score, al-Baker said.He announced that DJWE this year will also feature a ‘designing with purpose’, which features a special partnership between Education Above All (EAA) and Valentino. A limited-edition collection of Valentino accessories that carries the EAA logo is to be unveiled.Parts of the proceeds from the sales will be given to EAA’s education project, benefitting a large number of children worldwide, according to EAA.“As the official airline partner of DJWE, Qatar Airways is pleased to bring onboard two of Qatar Duty Free’s most iconic cafés, where visitors can savour the delicious food and beverages available at Harrod’s Tea Rooms and Venchi,” al-Baker said.Qatar Airways is the official airline partner and QNB the official sponsor of the latest edition of DJWE. Phillips, a leading global platform for buying and selling 20th and 21st-century art and design, will also be present at this year’s exhibition, al-Baker added. Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo holds the world record for the most successful watch auctions.DJWE will again put a spotlight on Qatar Tourism’s Qatari Designers initiative, a long-running platform highlighting its ongoing commitment to support local creative talent. Established in 2017, the programme provided some of Qatar’s most recognised contemporary jewellery and watch brands with a platform to help elevate their developing businesses.Visitors will also see the return of the stunning Turkish and Indian pavilions, featuring different brands and bespoke designs that celebrate the unique heritage and culture of the two countries.Described as the only business-to-consumer event of its kind in the region, al-Baker said this year’s DJWE is expected to attract more than 30,000 visitors from different parts of the globe.In a press statement, QNB’s Group chief business officer Yousef Mahmoud al-Neama said: “QNB Group is proud of its participation as the official sponsor to the 19th edition of the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition, which has become a banner for luxury and elegance in Qatar and the region.“Sponsoring this event is an annual tradition that the Bank maintains and that demonstrates our commitment to support national events and implement the Qatar National Vision 2030 which aims to diversify the local economy.“In addition, our participation provides an important opportunity to position the QNB brand among the world’s finest and can encourage the local brands which are taking up a greater role in the exhibition. We hope that the exhibition will continue its success as an annual event that is highly anticipated by jewellery and luxury watch enthusiasts in the region.”An impressive array of extremely rare and exquisite pearls from the Hussain Alfardan Gallery, a personal collection of natural pearls and part of Alfardan Jewellery, was also presented at the press conference.The latest designs by the uniquely Qatari concept, Papillon Jewellery, which was launched in 2011 by Noora al-Ansari, were also displayed at the event.IDT Gemological Laboratories’ presence at DJWE – a new partnership under Al Darwish Jewellery – will give customers the opportunity to have their jewellery examined and certified by an internationally certified institute.

Another view of the aquarium inside the Grand Terminal. PICTURE: Joey Aguilar.
Aquarium in Grand Terminal captivates cruise passengers

The mega cruise ships that continue to make calls at Old Doha Port have become major attractions for residents frequenting the area while the large aquarium inside the Grand Terminal has been captivating many cruise passengers.Many visitors often find time to gaze at several rare fish and other marine species at the aquarium before leaving the terminal for a tour or a visit to the Mina District.Exploring the Doha Port, visitors who prefer to stay within the area can be seen dining at various restaurants and cafes at the Mina District while others look for souvenirs at several retail shops and boutiques.A few metres away from the Mina District is the Box Park, which remains appealing to both cruise passengers and residents, particularly during the cold season. The two areas offer a scenic view not only of the Doha skyline but also of nearby popular touristic spots.The Doha Port is also home to another large public park just behind the Flag Plaza - a place to hang-out, exercise and spend the day with families, colleagues, or friends.As one of the latest popular destinations in Qatar, it is learnt that the Old Doha Port has been attracting a huge number of visitors, including those from outside the city such as Al Khor. The Port recently hosted the 3rd edition of the Qatar Balloon Festival, which also drew crowds.

Georgian ambassador Nikoloz Revazishvili.
Tourism opportunities between Qatar and Georgia ‘immense’

The post-FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and post Covid-19 pandemic period provides tourism opportunities between Qatar and Georgia as both countries continue to witness a growing number of visitors due to their unique offerings, Georgian ambassador Nikoloz Revazishvili has said.The envoy told Gulf Times that in the last few years, Georgia has become one of the most popular tourist destinations for Qatar residents, spending their “holiday vacations in Georgia and many plan to do so this winter”.He said the easy and simple visa arrangements, Georgia’s proximity to and from Qatar, and Georgia’s beautiful nature, charming contrasts, different climates, and a wide variety of historic, cultural and culinary offerings make it a favourite destination for both Qatari citizens and residents.“Qatari citizens or QID holders can travel to Georgia without visas. Second, Georgia is very close geographically and it takes just close to three-and-a-half hours to get to Tbilisi on a direct fl ight. Qatar Airways operates daily direct fl ights to Tbilisi,” Revazishvili pointed out.He said the number of visitors from Qatar to Georgia in 2022 increased by 27.5% compared to 2021, noting that Georgia has removed all Covid-19 regulations, not only in terms of entering Georgia, but also inside the country starting from June 2022. According to Revazishvili, the 2023 Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championship, which will be held in Bakuriani from February 19 to March 5, will see a huge number of foreign visitors coming to Georgia.He said a total of 30 medal events are on the programme, with 16 being contested in the freestyle ski disciplines and 14 in snowboarding. “Thousands of international guests from 42 countries – athletes, offi cial representatives – are already registered to attend this event in Bakuriani. On the sidelines of the championship, various interesting entertainment events are scheduled, so the visitors can enjoy unforgettable experiences while visiting this beautiful ski resort,” Revazishvili said.He noted that Qatar, on the other hand, successfully hosted the World Cup last year and the prestigious tournament puts the country in the spotlight internationally, underlining its capacity to host and organise international sport events of such magnitude. “Qatar ‘Delivered Amazing’. Many Georgian citizens visited Qatar during the World Cup and everyone left Qatar with positive feelings and a desire to return as tourists.“Qatar represents one of the growing tourist destinations for Georgia, especially for family travellers. You can find everything in Qatar – rich history and cultural experience, amazing local and international cuisine, amazing hotels and resorts, nice beaches, shopping and etc. I am sure we will witness significant growth in tourism in coming years in both destinations – Tbilisi and Doha,” the envoy said.

Mosaad Moustafa Eleiwa
Hayya Card extension set to benefit Qatar travellers

Extending the validity of Hayya Card by a year provides easy access and an opportunity for visitors to revisit and further explore the wide range of tourism offerings in the country, industry experts have said. “After the World Cup, the country has provided multiple accesses for all nationalities so they can continue and complement their experience during the tournament,” Outing Qatar founder and managing director Mosaad Moustafa Eleiwa told Gulf Times.Qatar welcomed more than 1.4mn visitors from different parts of the globe during the 2022 FIFA World Cup, giving them the opportunity to witness thrilling football matches and enjoy an array of entertainment and cultural events. Eleiwa lauded the Ministry of Interior’s (MoI) latest decision, which allows Hayya Card holders, including their families and friends to visit Qatar until January 24, 2024, subject with a number of requirements.He noted that the announcement also came at a time when the Arab Ministerial Council named Doha as the Arab Tourism Capital for 2023, further strengthening its position as a leading tourism destination in the region.“Whether you are looking for sports, culture and arts, a city tour or just a visit, Doha now has a door for everything. Whatever your interest, you will find it here,” Eleiwa said, citing Qatar’s many tourism infrastructure and offerings.He added that Qatar has also positioned itself as a favourite luxury destination, particularly hosting multiple five-star hotels, an efficient transportation system, and world-class infrastructure projects, which have won top global awards such as Hamad International Airport, among others. According to Eleiwa, Hayya Card holders in neighbouring GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, among others, have expressed interest to return to Qatar, especially this winter.“By the way, it (enquiries) started already and I have a lot of friends who are coming to Doha soon either for business or through the Hayya Card, as well as those who want to experience the city. I expect more in the coming 10 days, packing and planning to visit Qatar again,” he said, adding that some of their interests include going for the safari experience and city tours, among other offerings. Many visitors, Eleiwa said, are anticipating the upcoming events and sports competitions scheduled to take place in Qatar this winter, including entertainment shows and live concerts.Qatar is also set to host a series of exciting and crowd-puller events this winter, such as the Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition, Qatar International Food Festival and Shop Qatar. The Qatar GKA Freestyle Kite World Cup 2023 is currently being held at Fuwairit Kite Beach and will conclude on February 4.Other major events this winter include Qatar TotalEnergies Open (tennis) and Qatar ExxonMobil Open (tennis), both at Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex), Al Shaqab events at the Longines Outdoor Arena Longines Indoor Arena at Al Shaqab, and Ramadan Bazaar.“Just from yesterday, we started getting calls from GCC nationals about their plan of return to Qatar,” he said, noting a positive response based on the new MoI decision and considering the various tourism offerings provided during the World Cup. Eleiwa said another unique offering include giving visitors the opportunity to visit and experience all the football stadiums via a customised tour by Outing Qatar even after the World Cup.Tawfeeq Travel Group CEO Rehan Ali Syed described the Qatar government's decision to extend the validity of the Hayya Card until January 2024 as an "excellent initiative". "It is extremely important for Qatar to open up and ease the travel requirements for more tourists to visit the country. Tourism has always been one of the main revenue generators for any country, it will give the right push in all areas of business specially in hospitality and retail," he said, noting that the cruise season in Qatar started seeing an increasing number of visitors to Qatar.Besides football and world-class stadiums, Syed said Qatar has a lot to offer and positioned itself as a country that has varied offerings for each and everyone whether it is for children, teenagers or adults. He said Qatar showcased its rich heritage, culture, hospitality, and most significantly, the safety aspects of the country. Tourists were keen on visiting the Museum of Islamic Art, National Museum of Qatar, heritage sites, Al Shaqab, Qatar National Library and the beautiful Souq Waqif. "The inland desert experience has also been a memorable one and we can see that during the shore excursion with the cruise, a visit to the inland sea and desert is in huge demand," he added.Going forward, Syed said Qatar will become an ideal destination for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE). He added that corporates in Qatar are planning to hold a number of conferences in the near future.

The Box Park premises has several benches for visitors to unwind. PICTURE: Bonnie James
Revisiting the Box Park

The pleasant weather and a bustling 2022/23 cruise season in Qatar provide residents and visitors an opportunity to revisit one of Qatar’s favourite attractions – the Box Park – which served as a venue for live match screenings throughout the FIFA World Cup 2022 last year.Located at the Old Doha Port, the Box Park’s upper deck offers a panoramic view of the Mina District, the mega cruise ships and luxury yachts at the Grand Terminal, and a number of Doha’s landmarks and popular destinations.The Museum of Islamic Art and its park, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, Al Fanar, and the National Museum of Qatar, as well as the residential towers at The Pearl-Qatar can also be seen from afar.After a brisk walk or jogging at the park just beside the Flag Plaza, a lot of visitors find the Box Park an ideal stop to rest and have breakfast or dinner before heading to the Mina District for another stroll.The Box Park, which hosts a number of cafes and eateries, as well as food trucks, also offers air-conditioned rooms for customers who buy meals for a minimum of QR20.“It’s good to have all these places – the Box Park and another nearby park, the Mina District and the Grand Terminal – in one area, and it’s nice to see the hot air balloons here too especially at night for the nightglow,” said Filipino expatriate Edgar B, who frequents the place after the World Cup.“I also hope to see more activities and festivals here in the coming weeks before the summer sets in. I think it’s one of the best places in Qatar to take photos and videos for social media posts,” he said, adding that “there is a lot more to do and enjoy at the Box Park apart from gazing its colourful repurposed shipping containers”.Restaurants, retail outlets and an array of shops, and a welcoming atmosphere attract many residents to spend their free time and the weekend outdoors, particularly at the Old Doha Port, it is learnt.

Gulf Times
DFI announces mega project

Aspiring actors in Qatar will have the chance to be part of one of the country’s most significant feature film projects produced by the Doha Film Institute (DFI) to date, with 200 secondary and 30 major roles. “We are proud to be producing one of the largest and most prominent feature film projects in the history of Qatar, and it will be shot at several locations across the country,” DFI posted on its social media pages. DFI noted that it is now looking for actors and actresses from “our diverse creative community” to take part in the film. Auditions, it added, are open to all valid QID-holders of any age, gender, nationality and acting experience. “Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend, as there are over 200 background roles and 30 feature roles available,” DFI stressed. DFI said it is keen to be meeting both aspiring and established actors who are interested in being considered for roles in projects produced through its Qatari Film Fund. DFI’s previous projects such as short films by emerging Qatari filmmakers have brought together various talents in Qatar. The institute also organises workshops for aspiring professional film actors and directors, and “trains participants in the art of filming great performances”.

The exhibition puts a spotlight on ‘the power and beauty of Arabian horses’.
Exhibition of Georgian artist Mikheil Eristavi open until Jan 28

The Embassy of Georgia in Doha, in co-operation with Katara – Cultural Village, has jointly organised an exhibition by Georgian artist Mikheil Eristavi, marking the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Qatar and Georgia.The ‘The Divine Horses’ exhibition, which runs until January 28 at Katara building 47 – Gallery 1, showcases 20 paintings and graphics. It includes rare pieces mostly presented from private collections and some specially created for the show.Georgian ambassador Nikoloz Revazishvili and Katara general manager Prof Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti led the inauguration of the exhibition. Ambassadors of various countries and representatives of the diplomatic corps, academia and art groups, as well as Georgian citizens residing in Qatar were present.In a press statement, the embassy noted that the exhibition puts a spotlight on ‘the power and beauty of Arabian horses’ – one of the core symbols of the Arabian Peninsula – representing the main leading theme of Eristavi’s works.

The Qatar Balloon Festival has been drawing big crowds
Crowd-puller events will make it a winter to remember in Qatar

Following the recent launch of the Qatar Balloon Festival, the country is set to host a series of exciting and crowd-puller events this winter, such as Qatar Live 2023, Disney Princess – The Concert, the Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition, the Qatar International Food Festival, and Shop Qatar, among others.Qatar Tourism (QT), together with Qatar Airways, recently launched the “Feel Winter in Qatar” campaign, unveiling a series of events and festivals, starting with the third edition of the Qatar Balloon Festival.Scheduled from January 26 and lasting through the season, the newest edition of Qatar Live will feature live performances from renowned local, regional and international artistes, according to the QT.The highly successful event was also held throughout the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, witnessing performances by world-renowned names such as Black Eyed Peas, Robbie Williams, Jason Derulo, Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Major Lazer Soundsystem, and Paul Van Dyk.“We look forward to attracting additional world-class performances following the hugely successful Qatar Live during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – with 18 major events taking place that attracted record crowds of more than 100,000,” Qatar Tourism Chairman and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive HE Akbar al-Baker said at a recently held press conference. “Qatar Live is now firmly established as a strong brand for leading performances in Qatar."The QT and Qatar Airways, in partnership with Disney Concerts and Broadway Entertainment Group, will present an exciting production of the world-renowned *Disney Princess – The Concert, starting on January 26 at the Katara Amphitheatre.The QT noted that some of Broadway and the West End’s most celebrated artistes will perform live for three nights, along with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra until January 28.“February will see the return of the 19th edition of the Doha Jewellery & Watches Exhibition, which will run from February 20-25,” HE al-Baker said.“During this highly anticipated event, attendees can see rare and priceless pieces up close from over 500 brands, meet some of the region’s most respected designers, participate in interactive workshops, and much more,” he added. “We are expecting to see a great attendance with 30,000 visitors from over 175 countries.”One of the most-awaited events, the 12th edition of the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) is set to take place from March 1-11 at the Hotel Park.Previous editions of the QIFF featured special culinary experiences at scenic outdoor locations, a host of globally renowned chefs, live cooking shows, cooking competitions, masterclasses and other activities.Other upcoming major events include the Qatar GKA Freestyle Kite World Cup 2023 from January 31 to February 4 at Fuwairit Kite Beach, Qatar TotalEnergies Open (tennis) from February 13-18 at Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex, Qatar ExxonMobil Open (tennis) from February 20-25 (also at Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex), Al Shaqab events from February 23-25 at the Longines Outdoor Arena and Longines Indoor Arena at Al Shaqab, Shop Qatar from March 1-18, and Ramadan Bazaar.Shop Qatar celebrates the country's wide range of retail, beauty and entertainment options and unfolds around popular Doha shopping malls."As we continue to achieve our long-term goal of welcoming 6mn visitors a year by 2030, we look forward to the year ahead and the new and exciting chapter for tourism,” HE al-Baker said.He noted that the introduction of a variety of new openings, including hotels, shopping malls and public beaches, among others, in the build-up to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 strengthened and diversified the country’s hospitality, leisure and tourism landscapes."Our country captured the attention of the world and is now one of the most desirable destinations in the global tourism industry," he added.