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Tuesday, February 27, 2024 | 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.
The Alfardan Jewellery pavilion at the DJWE 2024 houses several renowned luxury brands. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Qatar
Alfardan pavilion takes centre stage at DJWE 2024

The Alfardan pavilion takes centre stage at the 20th Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE), showcasing an array of unique and exclusive collections from renowned luxury brands.The DJWE 2024, taking place at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC) until February 11, brings together more than 500 international brands from 10 countries under one roof, according to Qatar Tourism (QT).At the Alfardan pavilion, Chopard is presenting novelties such as L’Heure du Diamant, Mille Miglia Classic Chronograph, and Happy Diamonds Planet.Qatar Special Editions like the Mille Miglia GTS with a green dial and exclusive references of Mille Miglia and L’heure du Diamant are also on display.Tiffany & Co unveils its 2024 Bird on a Pearl collection for the first time at the event.The exhibition is also featuring 2023 Schlumberger by Tiffany Bird on a Rock and a campaign showcasing creations worn by House Ambassador Anya Taylor-Joy.Vacheron Constantin displays novelty timepieces, including Overseas self-winding, Overseas moon phase retrograde date, Overseas self-winding in gold and light, Traditionnelle manual-winding, and Patrimony retrograde day-date.Marli showcases signature collections including Tip-Top, Empire, Cleo, Avenues & LIFE, with a special focus on the newly introduced LIFE collection from the previous year.Girard-Perregaux’s spotlight is on the Neo Constant Escapement and the Esmeralda A Secret Edition, featuring four new limited colours, including pink gold and purple enamel, pink gold and brown enamel, white gold and grey enamel, and white gold and green enamel.Franck Muller showcases the exclusive Zodiac collection along with other Qatar’s Vanguard limited edition watches in various captivating colours.Chaumet reveals an exclusive, one-of-a-kind Iris High Jewellery necklace, featuring a rare 24.26-carat Tanzanian spinel.Another highlight is the Soir de Fete High Jewellery set, capturing the essence of Qatar's rich pearl heritage with intricate diamond details.Noudar will launch the Maha’s Henna collection, inspired by the classic Henna and Enamel collections, while Satoro is focusing on its Happy collection.Gallery Al Tawash, curated by Aisha Alfardan, presents the Aisha Collection, embodying the intersection of tradition and modernity within Qatar's pearl heritage.Dolce & Gabbana is making its mark at the DJWE in collaboration with Alfardan Jewellery, showcasing its exquisite creations throughout the event.Butani Jewellery debuts its new Bridal collection at the DWJE 2024, capturing the essence of eternal love and celebrating the beauty of brides on their special day.Alfardan Jewellery’s 70th-anniversary celebration offers a breathtaking experience, merging tradition with innovation, and showcasing the finest in the world of luxury and craftsmanship.

HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani inaugurates the 20th DJWE at DECC Monday.
Qatar
PM opens dazzling 20th edition of DJWE

Qatar’s Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani inaugurated the 20th edition of Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE) Monday at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre.HE the Minister of Interior Sheikh Khalifa bin Hamad al Thani, Qatar Tourism (QT) chairman Saad Bin Ali al-Kharji, and a number of dignitaries were present at the opening of the QT-organised event which runs until February 11.In a statement, al-Kharji said: “For the past two decades, DJWE has been a symbol of luxury and sophistication at the local, regional, and global levels for two decades. The continued success of the exhibition is consistent with the increased momentum of the tourism sector. In fact, at the beginning of this year, we marked a record-breaking number of visitors.“Our goal at QT is to strengthen Qatar's position as a premier tourist destination by constantly developing its tourism assets and maintaining its proven track record in service and hospitality excellence, as well as developing new and innovative tourism products and services.“Our support for Qatari youth is at the top of our priorities, this comes with the support of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, indicating the state’s interest in nurturing and developing Qatari talent in the jewellery industry,” al-Kharji said.The QT chairman added that over the years, the ‘Qatari Designers’ initiative evolved into an autonomous pavilion within the exhibition, providing a platform for emerging Qatari designers, regardless of gender, to showcase their collections alongside globally acclaimed jewellery brands.Several internationally renowned brands, including Dolce & Gabbana, Key Gems, AlMajid Home, Renee Jewels, Naylah Jewelry, Kooheji Jewellery, and Hessa Jewels have made their debut at DJWE.The Qatari Designer pavilion shines a spotlight on the extraordinary artistry of 10 homegrown Qatari designers. DJWE reveals a thoughtfully curated assortment of distinctive creations that capture the individual philosophy and influences of each designer. The featured designers for this year include Al Ghla Jewellery, De Throve, Ghand Jewellery, H Jewellery, Kaltham’s Pavilion, Midad Jewellery, Nouf Jewellery, Thameen, Trifoglio, and DW Jewellery.Alfardan Jewellery, one of Qatar’s largest and most influential jewelry retailers that plays a key role in shaping the country's jewellery landscape since the mid-1900s, marks its 70th anniversary at DJWE.The prestigious exhibition partnered with Education Above All (EAA), an initiative founded by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, collaborating with Brazilian jeweller and designer Silvia Furmanovich, alongside several Qatari designers, to present exclusive designs as part of the 'Educate A Child' initiative. This initiative, spearheaded by EAA, aims to enhance global access to education.Qatari Designers contributing to this meaningful cause include Papion, offering a brooch; Nouf Jewelry, presenting a necklace; De Trove Jewelry, showcasing a bracelet; Ghand Jewellery with details to be confirmed; and Mahain Jewellery, contributing two brooches.

Some of the colourful and spectacular kites from the event Friday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.
Qatar
Spectacular Qatar Kites Festival concludes Saturday

Fuelled by powerful winds, dozens of colourful kites adorned the skies of Old Doha Port Friday and attracted a large number of spectators at the Qatar Kite Festival 2024.The 10-day event, which concludes Saturday, is showcasing several kites of varying colours, size and designs from 20 countries, in addition to a number of cultural presentations and family-friendly activities.Speaking to Gulf Times, organiser Wolfgang Schimmelpfennig described the festival’s latest edition as 'special, bigger and successful', taking place at a beautiful and scenic venue in Doha.“This park is one of the best spots I have seen in all my 40 years of kite experience, it is huge, wide, and the grass, and the wind from the sea, it’s perfect,” he said, noting that kites were flown in other locations in Doha in the previous edition.Schimmelpfennig expressed confidence that the festival will become an annual gathering of kite enthusiasts attracting more visitors from different parts of the world.He noted that China has a significant presence in the event, showcasing unique kites like the centipede, decked with a remarkable row of 1,000 discs soaring into the air. He said that this year's festivities include Qatar-themed kites, celebrating the nation’s role as the host of the AFC Asian Cup.Besides Qatar, other participants include teams from Thailand, Malaysia, and neighbouring GCC countries such as Oman, among other nations from other regions.Schimmelpfennig cited the efforts of Safe Flight Solutions CEO, Captain Hassan al-Mousawi, who he said “made this possible as he likes kites very much and he wants to establish this for the next couple of years.”“Everybody wants to come to Qatar, and we are a group of organisers so we make our decisions to select only the best ones (kite flyers) in the world,” he said.Mohamad Izwan, a participant from Malaysia, said they are featuring a number of exceptional kites: one is a yellow millipede, which portrays the colour of Malaysia’s national team in the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar.As a first time participant, he thanked the host country and the organisers, saying: “It is the best organiser ever in terms of the facilities, the feel, and also we are blessed here in Doha because of the windy environment.”As Izwan looks forward to participating in the next editions of the festival, he urged the Malaysian community in Doha to support and see the beautiful and colourful kites from Malaysia, as well as other participating kites.

QIFF 2024 pays tribute to the Qatar- Moroccan Year of Culture 2024. (Screengrab from Visit Qatar website)
Qatar
Qatar set to host diverse array of events in February

Qatar is set to host a diverse array of events in February, featuring major sport competitions, an equestrian event, prestigious exhibitions, culinary celebrations and tech conferences.The festivities start with the Arabian Horse Festival at Katara - Cultural Village, running from tomorrow (February 1) until February 11. It celebrates the strength, originality and pride associated with purebred Arabian horses.Organisers noted that this 4th edition promises exceptional competitions and beautiful events on the grounds of Katara, showcasing the Global Champions Arabians Tour and the Arabian Peninsula Horse Show.The World Aquatics Championships - Doha 2024 is set to take place from February 2 to 18, making its debut in the country and hosting around 2,600 athletes from 190 nations. The Aspire Dome, Hamad Aquatic Centre and Old Doha Port will be the venues for various competitions, offering ticketed and free viewing for spectators.Art and luxury converge at the 20th edition of Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE), scheduled from February 5 to 11 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, bringing together more than 500 brands from 10 countries. It will also shine a spotlight on Indian and Turkish pavilions, as well as Qatari designers.The Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) returns for its 13th edition from February 7 to 17 at the Expo Family Zone at Al Bidda Park. Organised by Qatar Tourism (QT), the festival will feature more than 100 stalls, live cooking shows, masterclasses, and cooking competitions with participation from renowned restaurants in Qatar and the region.QIFF 2024 pays tribute to the Qatar-Moroccan Year of Culture 2024 and will showcase renowned chefs and personalities from the global gastronomic scene, according to QT.The Qatar ExxonMobil Open, from February 19 to 24 at the Khalifa International Tennis & Squash Complex, will see the return of 22-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal, along with other top-ranking players, making it a must-watch on the ATP Tour calendar.Closing the month is the Web Summit Qatar 2024, scheduled from February 26 to 29 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre. With more than 7,500 international entrepreneurs, investors, and leaders in attendance, the summit aims to boost the region's tech scene and unlock economic opportunities. Web Summit CEO Katherine Maher has underlined the event’s potential for positive social impact.Entertainment takes centre stage with a series of concerts by renowned regional and international performers. The lineup includes Najwa Karam, OneRepublic, Nassif Zeytoun, Amine Boudchar, Nawal El Kuwaitia and Ahmed Saad, who are set to captivate audiences at various venues across Doha, including the Katara Outdoor Theatre, throughout February.

Malaysian ambassador Zamshari Shaharan
Qatar
Malaysia-Qatar ties set for greater heights, says envoy

Plans for exchange visits at the highest level between Qatar and Malaysia are underway as the two countries mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations this year, Malaysian ambassador Zamshari Shaharan has said.“We have a very good basis, a warm and close relationship,” the envoy told *Gulf Times, expressing optimism about the future of their ties. “There is still room for moving forward and to explore and increase co-operation between the two countries.”Shaharan underlined the potential for further co-operation and exploration, both at the diplomatic level and in cultural and artistic collaborations.He noted that the cultural exchange between Qatar and Malaysia took a significant leap during the FIFA World Cup 2022, where Malaysian groups showcased their talents.This was further strengthened during the ongoing AFC Asian Cup with various groups representing the nation seen performing remarkably.Shaharan lauded the organisation of the AFC Asian Cup in Qatar, expressing confidence in the country’s capability due to its successful hosting of the World Cup 2022.Despite the Malaysian football team not qualifying for the round of 16, the ambassador commended their fighting spirit, particularly highlighting the thrilling 3-3 draw against Korea.In celebration of the 50th anniversary, a “Malaysia Truly Asia” Hi-Tea event took place last Friday in Doha, organised by the Malaysian embassy, in collaboration with the Malaysian community in Qatar.It showcased Malaysia’s cultural diversity through various performances, traditional activities, and culinary delights.

Al Majed Jewellery unveils an antique sapphire, diamond, and natural pearl tiara, a piece of art dating back to 1890. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam
Qatar
Top DJWE exhibitors preview collections

As the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE) gears up for its 20th edition, five top exhibitors provided a sneak peek into their collections, promising a celebration of glamour and excellence like never before.The prestigious event, scheduled to take place within a 30,000sq m space at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC) from February 5-11, will witness the participation of more than 500 international brands from 10 countries.A recent press conference set the stage for an immersive experience, showcasing statement pieces from Alfardan Jewellery, Al Majed Jewellery, Fifty One East, Al Muftah Jewellery, and Bvlgari in an interactive digital exhibition.Tiffany & Co takes the spotlight with the unveiling of their new “Bird on a Pearl” collection, a collaboration that unites the world’s rarest pearls with the artistry of Jean Schlumberger.The suite, adorned with authentic saltwater pearls from the Gulf region, will debut at the Alfardan pavilion, featuring pieces obtained from the personal collection of Hussein Alfardan.Some of the standout pieces that will be displayed at Alfardan pavilion include a vintage Vacheron Constantin Overseas silver dial chronograph men’s watch, a vintage Breguet 3700 Marine Hora Mundi Yellow Gold, a pearl necklace from AlTawash vintage collection, and a vintage Gub-Gub headpiece made of gold, diamonds, rubies, and emeralds.Al Muftah Jewellery presents a vintage gold and diamond jewellery set, blending timeless elegance with sophistication, which reflects craftsmanship and design aesthetics of a bygone era.The versatile set is designed for various occasions, promising enduring allure and style.Al Muftah is also presenting Sarcar timepieces, which bring exclusivity to a new level with “The Exceptional” collection, featuring limited-edition timepieces and unique pieces of art.“The Twist”, a progressive masterpiece, fuses traditional and futuristic gem-setting techniques, anchored by a floating one-carat brilliant-cut diamond – a world-first achieved through advanced micro-engineering.Bvlgari is set to grace the exhibition with an extraordinary Imperial Spinel necklace, showcasing a rare 131.21-carat spinel from Tajikistan.This one-of-its-kind piece, requiring 1,400 hours to create, features a combination of pink-fuchsia shades with green emerald beads, true to Bulgari's trademark style.Al Majed Jewellery unveils an antique sapphire, diamond, and natural pearl tiara, a piece of art dating back to 1890.The tiara, signed by G Confalonieri, Milano Roma, is enhanced by 11 drop-shaped Qatari natural pearls by Mohamed Almajed of Al Majed Jewellery.Fifty One East and Rolex, with a relationship dating back to 1951, presents Rolex watches from Fifty One East’s Private Collection.The watches exemplify the pinnacle of horological craftsmanship, underscoring the enduring connection between these iconic brands.

Malaysia ambassador Zamshari Shaharan with guests at the event Friday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Qatar
Malaysia Truly Asia Hi-Tea marks 50th anniversary of Qatar-Malaysia ties

An array of cultural performances and traditional activities took centre stage at the “Malaysia Truly Asia” Hi-Tea in Doha Friday, marking the 50th anniversary of bilateral relations between Malaysia and Qatar.The event, organised by the embassy of Malaysia in Doha in collaboration with the Malaysian community in Qatar, showcased and celebrated Malaysia’s cultural diversity: from performing arts through music and dances, traditional cuisines and games to costumes and fabrics.“In a small way we want to showcase Malaysia and to kick off the celebration for the year,” Malaysia ambassador Zamshari Shaharan told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the celebration.He said that this event aligns with the government’s vision for fostering collaboration between the Malaysian community in Qatar and the embassy in enhancing Malaysia’s global visibility.Shaharan stressed that such occasion serves as the start of the upcoming “Visit Malaysia Year” in 2025, as announced by the Malaysian prime minister.This initiative aims to attract 23.5mn international visitors, generating an anticipated revenue of RM76.8bn.According to the embassy, the tagline “Malaysia Truly Asia” represents the essence of the country’s unique and rich diversity and underlines Malaysia as an extraordinary tourist destination where the vibrant colours, flavours, sounds, and sights of Asia converge to create an unparalleled experience.At the event, visitors were treated to a cultural performance featuring the artistry of the 'kompang' (shallow hand drums).Classified within the percussion group of musical instruments, the 'kompang' holds a prominent place as the most popular traditional musical instrument among the Malay community.Originated from the Arab world, this instrument is thought to have made its way to Malaysia, either introduced during the era of the Malacca Sultanate by Indian Muslim traders or brought by Arabian traders in the 13th century.Other presentations include the 'joget' dance, a traditional Malay dance that originated in Malacca in the colonial era influenced by the Portuguese dance of Branyo; 'Kuda Kepang' dance, especially famous in Johor state where dancers use horse dummies made of woven bamboo and without legs, just the bodies, heads and tails only; and 'Mak Inang' dance, also known as 'Si Kembang Cina', which reflects the existence of Chinese influence in its music.Attendees also had the chance to experience various activities such as hands-on activity of colouring batik and traditional games for adults and children like 'congkak' and 'Batu Seremban', in addition to a wide range of popular Malaysian dishes.'Congkak' is a traditional game thought to have been introduced to the Malay archipelago from India.'Batu Seremban' enjoys popularity in the Malaysian states of Kedah, Selangor, Kelantan, and Johor.Alternatively known as 'Permainan Batu Selambut' or 'Serembat', this game is played individually or in groups of two to four people.To play, participants require five objects referred to as 'buah' (game pieces), which can be rubber seeds, glass marbles, bean bags, pebbles, or small cloth wrappings, among others.

Hessa Jewels has been gaining increasing acclaim for its unique fusion of traditional and contemporary designs filled with a creative touch.
Qatar
Hessa Jewels to shine at DJWE

Hessa Jewels, originally a participant in the Young Qatari Designers initiative, is set to take centre stage at the 20th edition of the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE), joining as a regular exhibitor.One of Qatar's most-anticipated exhibitions is scheduled to take place from February 5 to 11 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, bringing together more than 500 brands from 10 countries who will showcase their finest creations.Established in 2017 by Qatari jewellery designer Sameera al-Mulla, Hessa Jewels, which derives its name from ‘pearl,’ became an integral part of Qatar Museums in 2019, presenting collections such as “Al Battola”. This collection features designs adorned with diamonds and gemstones, a symbol of elegance worn by women.Hessa Jewels has been gaining increasing acclaim for its unique fusion of traditional and contemporary designs filled with a creative touch. Notable creations from Hessa Jewels include the Kohl, the Mashmum, and the Regal Palm.Despite al-Mulla’s background with a Master’s degree from Aberdeen University and a career in the banking sector, her passion for jewellery shines through in the artistic works of Hessa Jewels.During a recent press conference, Qatar Tourism’s (QT) chief marketing and promotion officer, engineer Abdulaziz Ali al-Mawlawi said that special edition and statement pieces have been carefully curated for this edition of DJWE, with a focus on new brands joining the roster.He stressed that Hessa Jewels serves as an inspiration for emerging talents and symbolises the success achieved by Qatari designers who started as part of the initiative.Over the years, the Young Qatari Designers initiative reached new heights, with its jewellery designs and creations gaining widespread popularity. It provides a platform for Qatari designers to stand alongside some of the most prestigious local and international brands, fostering an environment where designers inspire and are inspired.QT, through DJWE, has been a catalyst for the success of Qatari designers. Many participants from previous years have evolved into prominent jewellers, contributing to the industry's growth.The roster of Qatari designers participating in this year’s DJWE includes Al Ghla Jewellery, De Trove, Ghand Jewellery, H Jewellery, Kaltham’s Pavilion, Midad Jewellery, Nouf Jewellery, Thameen Jewellery, and Trifoglio.

Ahmed al-Ameer presents his lecture at the conference Tuesday. PICTURES: Thajudheen
Qatar
Conference on private sector's role in sustainability highlights commitment to environmental responsibility

A conference Tuesday held at the Expo 2023 Doha’s Congress Centre, puts a spotlight on the private sector’s commitment to environmental responsibility.The event, titled “The Role of the Private Sector in Sustainability” and organised by Kuwait Pavilion’s commissioner general Samira al-Kandari, featured three presentations that tackle the importance of working towards a sustainable and environmentally responsible future.A lecture by Gulf Bank titled "Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance and Sustainability Progress," delivered by Corporate Communications’ deputy general manager Ahmed al-Ameer, underlined a comprehensive set of standards and components to enhance governance management strategies.He unveiled Gulf Bank’s pioneering Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy for 2030 and presented the Sustainability Progression report. He noted that the bank financed (external) $1 billion in projects classified as “environment friendly.”Internally, Gulf Bank showcased its commitment to sustainability with initiatives such as branch and head office refurbishments, featuring sustainable elements, a shift towards paperless operations, centralised printers, reusable water bottles for employees, and substantial efforts in electronic and material recycling. The “Rebag” initiative was also introduced to encourage the adoption of reusable shopping bags, described as a crucial step toward positive change.The conference further explored responsible banking with a lecture by Kuwait Finance House (KFH), titled “Responsible Banking to Achieve Sustainable Growth,” which was presented by Mohammed al-Arbeed, executive manager of Governance and Sustainability.He said that KFH is known for its pioneering role in Islamic Finance and Shari'a-compliant banking, noting the importance of banking policies and procedures in ensuring the accurate implementation of sustainable growth strategies.Al-Arbeed said a Memorandum of Understanding between KFH and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) was signed, aimed at strengthening alignment with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Under the agreement, UNDP will provide technical support to facilitate investments that align with SDGs through key instruments such as SDGs impact standards and the Green Sukuk framework.The third lecture of the conference, presented by Engineer Bashayer al-Maraghi from Equate Company, focused on “Reducing the Carbon Footprint at the Source.” She outlined Equate's efforts, particularly in polyethylene and ethylene glycol plants, to decrease the use of feed streams contributing to emissions. The goal is to minimise the carbon footprint at its source, aligning with global efforts to combat climate change.

HE Saad Bin Ali al-Kharji at the press conference Tuesday. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam
Qatar
20th DJWE to feature 500 plus brands

Indian and Turkish pavilions, along with 10 exhibitors under the Qatari Designers pavilion, will have a significant presence at the 20th Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE) this year, it was announced Tuesday.The latest edition of DJWE, scheduled to take place from February 5 to 11 at a 30,000sqm space at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, will bring together more than 500 brands from 10 countries around the world.At a press conference at Raffles Doha, Qatar Tourism (QT) noted that the new additions to the lineup include Key Gems, AlMajid Home, Renee Jewels, Naylah Jewelry, Kooheji Jewellery, and Hessa Jewels.The spotlight remains on the “Big 8” for this year's exhibition: Alfardan Jewellery, Al Majed Jewellery, Ali Bin Ali Luxury, Amiri Gems, Fifty One East, Al Muftah Jewellery, Blue Salon, and Bulgari.DJWE 2024 will showcase exclusive pieces, such as Tiffany & Co's 2024 Bird on a Pearl and the bespoke ‘High Jewellery’ necklace from Bulgari. AlMajed Jewellery and Blue Salon will introduce new jewellery brands, along with a fresh collection of ‘Qatar Limited Edition’ watches.According to QT, Phillips, a prominent global platform for trading 20th and 21st-century art and design, will participate in this year's DJWE. Phillips, in association with Bacs & Russo, holds the world record for the most successful watch auctions.A consistent presence at DJWE, Education Above All, has confirmed its return this year with collaborations with Brazilian jeweller and designer Silvia Furmanovich, and Qatari designers.Citing the importance of DJWE in attracting a large number of international visitors, QT chairman HE Saad bin Ali al-Kharji said: “The release of the Qatar National Vision 2024-2030 identified tourism as a major sector within the economic diversification clusters entrusted with contributing to achieving sustainable economic growth.“Over the past years, Qatar has been able to strengthen its position as a premier tourist destination, working on designing tourism assets, maintaining the excellence of services, providing new tourism services, and designing unique experiences for visitors”.He thanked DJWE partners, including QNB as the official sponsor in this year’s exhibition, who he described as “the reason behind its development and success over the last years.’’QNB Group chief business officer Yousef Mahmoud al-Neama said: “Our prestigious role as the official sponsor of the 2024 DJWE marks a significant milestone in our commitment to supporting local and international events within the dynamic landscape of the tourism sector.“It also affirms the long-term sponsorship we value having with QT. The DJWE serves as a unique platform, bringing together creativity, craftsmanship, and innovation, elements that resonate deeply with our core values at QNB”.The unveiling of DJWE’s 20th edition branding coincided with the introduction of the “Jewellery Connoisseurs” campaign, which was showcased at the press conference. It features renowned model and Russian television personality Irina Shayk, along with former professional footballer and current sports broadcaster Thierry Henry. It was accompanied by an extraordinary original score composed by Qatari composer Dana Alfardan.

One of the highlights of the Qatar Kite Festival is the day-night kite flying, where kites will fill Qatar’s sky both day and night, creating a breathtaking visual experience.
Qatar
Kite Festival to add colour to Qatar skies

The Qatar Kite Festival 2024 is set to adorn the skies of Old Doha Port from January 25 to February 3, featuring colourful kites, cultural celebrations and family-friendly activities.Safe Flight Solutions, organiser of the Qatar Balloon Festival, noted that the latest edition of this picturesque event will showcase giant kites flown by 60 participants from various countries.The 10-day festival also provides an opportunity for both Qatar residents and visitors, especially families, to spend quality time together and delight in the mesmerising spectacle of the kites in the sky, organisers said.The event, organised with the support of strategic partner, Qatar Tourism, and venue partner, Old Doha Port, will be held in front of the cruise terminal, adding an extra layer of excitement for international passengers during the bustling cruise season.Visit Qatar noted that attendees can look forward to a variety of activities, including workshops, arts and crafts and thrilling kite-flying competitions. International kite experts will also be on hand to showcase their vibrant creations.One of the highlights of the festival is the day-night kite flying, where kites will fill Qatar’s sky both day and night, creating a breathtaking visual experience. In addition, children can participate in free kite workshops, building and decorating their kites under the guidance of experts, and take home their creations as souvenirs.The event is free and open to all, making it an ideal family outing. Visitors can join in public flying sessions, learn the art of kite handling, and enjoy the festivities with food carts and kiosks offering delicious treats and children's entertainment.The previous edition of the festival saw a vibrant and scenic view of the Doha skyline and the skies surrounding the Museum of Islamic Art park.

Gulf Times
Qatar
Over 2mn passengers 'used Doha Metro, Lusail Tram since start of Asian Cup'

The Doha Metro and Lusail Tram networks in Qatar carried a total of 2,164,211 passengers since the start of the AFC Asian Cup until the end of the second round, Qatar Railways company (Qatar Rail) has said.A Qatar Rail post on X noted that 2,086,162 passengers used the Doha Metro while 78,049 passengers utilised the Lusail Tram.During the first round of the tournament’s group stage, Qatar Rail transported more than a million passengers, with a statement noting that from January 12 to January 16, the total number of passengers reached 1,079,340. Out of this, 1,040,973 passengers used the metro and 38,367, the tram.According to Qatar Rail, the networks witnessed huge demand, particularly on the opening day of the tournament, which featured the Qatar versus Lebanon match at Lusail Stadium. On this day alone, the metro and tram combined transported 234,862 passengers.Qatar Rail noted that the Doha Metro played a key role in providing connectivity to key event areas and attractions, including Souq Waqif, Lusail Boulevard, Katara and Al Bidda Park, where the Expo 2023 Doha is currently being held. The metro is directly connected to Al Bidda and Corniche stations on the Red Line.The busiest stations on the Doha Metro were Lusail QNB, DECC and Msheireb while Legtaifiya emerged as the busiest stop along the Lusail Tram route.For the AFC Asian Cup, Qatar Rail has deployed its fleet of 110 modern, comfortable and secure Doha Metro trains, including six-carriage trains on the Red Line. This doubled the capacity to 1,120 passengers per train.To ensure the efficient movement of passengers, Qatar Rail adopted advanced systems and closely monitored the Command Suite, providing real-time information about passenger flow before and after matches. It also deployed additional staff at stations and introduced complimentary Day Passes for match-day ticket holders, improving the overall transportation experience for fans.

Sikkat Wadi Msheireb features booths for the 24 participating countries in the tournament. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Qatar
MDD a vibrant hub for Asian Cup activities

As the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 moves into high gear, Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD) has emerged as a lively and engaging hub for football enthusiasts, offering an array of activities to celebrate the spirit of Asian football. Visitors can revel in the excitement of the tournament with live screenings of matches at Barahat Msheireb, taking place daily from 4pm to 11pm until February 10. The evening games are projected onto M7. According to the organisers, the live screening at MDD is a celebration of Asian football, creating a fitting and enjoyable atmosphere for spectators in the heart of Barahat Msheireb. The venue has become a favourite location for many visitors, especially families, due to its football-themed activities designed for children’s enjoyment. Hosting booths for the 24 participating countries in the tournament, Sikkat Wadi Msheireb has transformed into a vibrant celebration of customs and cultures as it features food, cultural exhibits, and craft experiences. Such offerings provide an immersive opportunity for visitors to learn about the diverse cultures participating in the sports event. The various authentic Asian cuisines at food and beverage outlets also continue to entice foodies. Sahat Wadi Msheireb, meanwhile, allows football fans to engage in friendly matches with its custom-built Human Foosball Arena. Up to 16 players can enter the cage at once, mimicking a regular foosball table, with live entertainment providing commentary and music. The registration fee for this unique experience is QR20. MDD also offers a cultural feast for visitors as the tournament progresses as it is set to host live performances by the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra on January 26 and 27, featuring World Football and Movie Classics. In addition, on February 4 and 5, visitors can enjoy Golden Classics from the Gulf Region. These ticketed performances start at 7:30 pm. For cinema enthusiasts, MDD provides a journey into the world of Arab cinema through a unique exhibition at Sikkat Wadi Msheireb, available until Saturday. The exhibition presents a comprehensive view of the history and development of Arab cinema, with artistic works vividly reflecting the Palestinian reality. (source: Msheireb Properties website)

Mosaad Moustafa Eleiwa
Qatar
Qatar's appeal as investment spot rises post-World Cup

The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar not only left a lasting impact on the world of sports but also significantly boosted the country’s appeal as an investment destination, according to an industry expert.Speaking to Gulf Times, Outing Qatar founder and managing director Mosaad Moustafa Eleiwa said Qatar is witnessing a surge in interest from foreign investors, especially from neighbouring GCC nations.He said investors are now eyeing opportunities in various sectors, drawn by the country's modern infrastructure, high-level amenities and business-friendly environment. These, he added, left a positive first impression on potential investors.“The country became more popular to people. They were a visitor at the beginning, now, they want to be a business owner. They were surprised with the amenities... there are many five-star hotels, well-designed roads and structures, and the airport – one of the best in the world,” said Eleiwa, who met with several potential investors from different countries, including those from the UK, Latin America and Iraq.He noted that the influx of visitors during the World Cup has transformed into a desire among many to become business owners in the country.Eleiwa underlined the exceptional experiences provided by many businesses in Qatar, especially in the hospitality sector. He noted that the quality of service, even among hotels of the same brand, stands out, and visitors are looking for such details in every service provided.He said Qatar’s openness to visitors and business owners, and its family-friendly and flexible environment contributed to its growing appeal. The high level of safety and security is cited as a crucial factor, in attracting investors to establish businesses in the country.“If you have the right skills, you will do good business here. Opportunities for foreign investors are growing, and the government is providing great potential,” he said.About the unified GCC tourist visa, he said that such a move is seen as a game-changer, creating a positive impact on various sectors, not just limited to business. He believes that the visa will facilitate ease of access for visitors and potential investors, eliminating the need for lengthy visa approval processes.“Overnight I can come and book my flight while I’m sitting in my room. It gives us more opportunities to do business, and attract more potential investors,” Eleiwa added.He observed that Qatar is currently witnessing a surge in the number of visitors, particularly from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The growth, he said, extends beyond the tourism sector, with an increasing number of hospitals and medical centres being built, potentially attracting visitors seeking medical treatment.Eleiwa suggests that patients may find it more convenient to visit Qatar rather than travelling to countries like the US and the UK for their healthcare needs.Another sector that is booming in Qatar and is expected to attract more investors is the food and beverage industry. Eleiwa highlighted the diverse culinary offerings, ranging from local and regional cuisines to international options like Italian and Japanese.

The grand opening of Shop Qatar 2024 will take place at Place Vendome on January 1, 2024 at 7:30pm.
Qatar
Shop Qatar set to be a big draw

Following a series of shopping promotions that kicked off with White Friday in November, Shop Qatar 2024 is poised to attract shoppers with massive discounts, daily family entertainment, and the opportunity to win great prizes.According to Visit Qatar, the festival’s grand opening will take place at Place Vendome on January 1, 2024 from 7:30pm, urging shoppers to participate and vie for prizes, including cash rewards, a luxurious car, and other gifts. It will also feature activations such as the Barbie Dreamhouse, Barney live stage show, grand prize display, and parades, among others.Participating malls in the shopping extravagansa include some of the most prominent names in Qatar’s retail landscape such as Place Vendome, Doha Festival City, Lagoona Mall, The Pearl Island, Hyatt Plaza, AL Khor Mall, Mall of Qatar, Msheireb Galleria, Al Hazm Mall, Tawar Mall, Landmark Mall, City Center Doha, and Gulf Mall.Organisers noted that malls would host several shows and activations such as Cocomelon, Bluey, LOL, Emoji, Strawberry Shortcake, Scrabble, Fruit Ninja, and Miraculous Show, among other activity corners.To enter the weekly raffle draws, shoppers need to spend QR200 or more at the participating outlets. After making their purchases, shoppers can obtain a voucher at the Shop Qatar kiosk, fill in their details, and drop the voucher into the designated box.Throughout the event, shoppers will be treated to information about various competitions, an array of offers and prizes while enjoying live shows and performances. The festival not only focuses on shopping but also encourages visitors to explore the unique offerings of each participating mall, promising exclusive deals and engaging entertainment for every member of the family.The grand finale of Shop Qatar will take place at Doha Festival City, where the winners will be announced during the closing ceremony. Attendees can expect special shows and entertainment to add a touch of glamour to the momentous occasion.Reflecting on the previous editions of Shop Qatar, it is learnt that the festival has become a crowd-puller occasion. Last year’s prizes included cash giveaways, a BMW X5, and even an apartment at The Pearl Island.Anticipation is high for this year’s edition, expecting to draw a large number of shoppers from Qatar and neighbouring GCC countries. It is learnt that the festival’s impact is poised to boost further various sectors, including retail, tourism, hospitality, and the food and beverage industries, solidifying Shop Qatar’s reputation as a cornerstone of the country’s annual calendar of events.

Noor Aljaber took part in the 90km Qatar East West Ultramarathon 2023. Supplied picture
Qatar
3 Qatari women make history by completing 90-km Ultramarathon

Three Qatari women have etched their names in history by completing the 90km Qatar East-West Ultramarathon 2023, a feat never before accomplished by local female athletes.Based on the race results at https://www.eastwest.run, Noor Aljaber, a prominent Qatari entrepreneur, conceptualiser, and athlete, ranked 34th while compatriots Lolwa al-Marri finished 38th and Ghalya Alharami was in the 59th spot.The event, organised by Qatar Ultrarunners and the Ministry of Sports and Youth, was held on December 15. The starting point was at Sheraton Park, leading participants through the scenic route along Dukhan Beach.“As I was running, I came across some female runners who I then learnt were doing the 90km solo. At that moment the seed was planted, and I hoped to also go for the full 90km solo,” Noor Aljaber said.Aljaber, a member of the Qatar Cycling Federation Female Team and a certified spinning instructor, said that during the race, she drew motivation from the camaraderie among the participants, with 750 runners in teams and 150 solo runners.“Proud of all the ladies as they will be inspirations for others who did not think or dare before. I believe whenever we have the opportunity to participate, we will show up and rise up to the challenge.“The fact that more than one lady thought to take on the challenge is a message in itself. The passion, motivation, and endurance are all there,” said Aljaber, who stressed is passionate about sports. Her varied sports background, ranging from yoga and cycling to triathlons and functional training, in addition to her recent triumph in the ultramarathon, demonstrates her versatile athleticism.Sharing the details of her remarkable journey and the motivations behind her decision to undertake such a formidable challenge, she cited the mental challenges, particularly the extreme wind, as the primary source of difficulty.“If I were to choose between mental or physical fatigue, I would say it was more mentally difficult mostly because of the extreme wind, pushing against us the entire way (35km/hour winds). So there were multiple battles,” Aljaber said.Her preparation for the event involved a rigorous three-month training plan, which included cycling, strength training, and mobility exercises. Overcoming the challenge of transitioning from a half marathon to a 90km run quickly, she highlighted the importance of dedication and commitment to the goal.“Anything can be achieved with the right preparation and commitment to the goal. I trained six times a week, at least one day off is very crucial as it gives the body and mind time to reset, recharge and recover and give the next workout the effort it needs to get results.“I was cycling two out of the six days and doing some strength training and dedicating time for mobility training and stretching. There are many aspects to consider with the longer runs such as nutrition issues in order to balance energy and fluid levels,” she said.Regarding her advice to young athletes, especially those interested in taking on challenging events like ultramarathons, she said: “If the challenge sparks something, don’t ignore it, pursue it. The support is all here, from friends, family, and the community. Passion, discipline, and consistency are key.”

As the head of the farm, Fardan Fahad Alfardan's main aim is clear: to produce premium products that rival imports, ensuring self-sufficiency and sustainability for Qatar throughout the year.
Qatar
Safwa: cultivating innovation and sustainability in farming

In the heart of the Qatari desert, a pioneering venture is transforming the landscape of agriculture in the country.Fardan Fahad Alfardan, is the founder and general manager of Alfardan Group’s 'Safwa', a hub for innovation and sustainability through hydroponic farming. He is also leading charge for the Group’s agricultural projects.A recent tour with Fardan offered insights into the farm’s evolution, achievements, and future plans, highlighting a commitment to premium produce, self-sufficiency, and global expansion.While Fardan was not there when the Wahat Al-Shafalahia farm was established in 1975, his 2019 entry marked a strategic push for commercial transformation, steering the farm toward a new future of agriculture.Fardan's VisionAs the head of the farm, Fardan’s main aim is clear: to produce premium products that rival imports, ensuring self-sufficiency and sustainability for Qatar throughout the year. His ultimate goal is to make Qatar entirely dependent on its own agricultural resources.The Future of Qatar’s AgricultureFardan envisions a future where innovative minds drive the agricultural sector forward, guided by the principles of sustainability, productivity, and profitability.Overcoming ChallengesDespite challenges, including operational costs, Fardan remains confident, citing a trial-and-error approach. He credits his team for finding solutions to every challenge by thinking outside the box. “It's all trial-and-error and the whole point is not to give up, everything has a solution here. You have to learn how to work with everyone and then you will succeed but you have to keep on going” he said.“It’s better that you commit a mistake now, than later. This is why every project we have is small, until it succeeds. We turn it into something huge,” he said, highlighting the key role that every member of his team plays.Collaborating for SuccessFardan emphasises the importance of treating technology partners as equals, adapting Chinese agricultural technology to suit the Qatari climate through collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. “It is definitely made in Qatar, and for Qatar,” he said, stressing that this collective effort involves learning from international experts and such fusion of knowledge creates the perfect environment for success.“For example, now we’re working with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, so they produce their own seeds, their own systems, and they have their own way of doing it. But whatever works there, doesn't mean it works here so we had to collaborate and adapt accordingly,” he pointed out.Expanding HorizonsSafwa has proudly partnered with Qatar Airways to deliver fresh produce onboard, as part of Qatar Airways efforts to deliver healthy, organic food and vegetables to passengers.Looking ahead, Fardan reveals plans for continuous expansion, driven by market demand, with the possibility of exporting fresh vegetables to neighbouring countries daily.“There’s always plans for expansion and the next phase is to export to neighbouring countries who want fresh vegetables. We harvest and we send it immediately to you. If you're in another country, you are guaranteed it’s one day, from farm to airport to wherever that destination is,” he said.Fardan also unveiled plans to grow other types of vegetables, noting that he only started growing bok choy and Lollo Bionda lettuce. From two variants six years ago, the number surged to 40, thanks to Safwa’s continuous research and development.“We started at the right moment, we realised that food security matters,” he said.Nurturing SustainabilityFardan's passion for sustainability and innovation, inspired by his love for pizza, has evolved into Safwa’s commitment to sustainable farming practices, ensuring no waste, and utilising produce for various purposes.“So, I grew my own tomatoes at home. Through Amazon, I bought an aero-garden system, an automated aquaponic, I grew the best cherry tomato, even my grandfather was like, ‘how did you grow this?’“When I saw their face (family and friends) how they liked it, I wanted to share it with more people, so this is why this is happening right now,” he said.Future Products and Climate ControlIn the future, Safwa plans to launch new products, including fruits like blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries. The farm aims to create a controlled climate for berry cultivation, incorporating solar panels for sustainability.Towards Agricultural Self-SufficiencyFardan expressed confidence that Qatar is ready to achieve agricultural self-sufficiency. With successful cultivation of leafy vegetables, tomatoes, and peppers, among others, he said the farm now ventures into growing passion fruit – a first in Qatar. He encourages perseverance, reiterating the need for trial and error in the pursuit of self-reliance.Award-Winning InnovationFardan's award in Hungary last year celebrates his introduction of new technologies, specifically hydroponic and aquaponic systems, marking a revolutionary shift in the family business.The Man Behind the VisionBorn into a family legacy of business, Fardan has propelled the Alfardan Group into new dimensions, showcasing a diverse skill set. His commitment extends to corporate social responsibility, actively participating in initiatives like the Expat Labour Fund.Safwa: Leading the Agricultural RevolutionWahat Al-Shafalahia farm, under Fardan’s leadership, symbolises a commitment to sustainable and innovative farming practices, redefining agriculture in the region with cutting-edge technologies.

Norwegian Dawn made its historic first-time arrival at Doha Port recently with 2,340 passengers.
Qatar
'Qatar has promising future as premier cruise destination'

Qatar’s tourism sector receives a major boost, with Captain Asen Gyurov from the Norwegian Dawn cruise ship lauding the nation’s promising future as a premier cruise destination.“We are very impressed, and this is one of the best ports so far that we had in our destinations. I strongly believe Qatar is developing in the right direction, and we, as a company, are looking forward to coming back here,” Captain Gyurov told Gulf Times on the sidelines of its maiden voyage to Qatar.Speaking on behalf of the officers and crew of Norwegian Cruise Line, Captain Gyurov conveyed his gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality received during the ship’s arrival at Doha Port on Wednesday.Norwegian Dawn made its historic first-time arrival at Doha Port with 2,340 passengers, marking a significant milestone for the renowned Norwegian Cruise Line and the wider Gulf region. The vessel, operated by a crew of 1,032 members, is one of the ships visiting Qatar during the new cruise season, scheduled to run until April 2024.According to Qatar Tourism, this season is poised to be the country’s largest cruise season to date, with an anticipated 81 cruise calls and approximately 350,000 passengers. Doha Port, with its state-of-the-art facilities, is well-equipped to handle the increasing number of visitors, particularly during the cruise season.Captain Gyurov expressed confidence in a potential surge in passengers from Qatar traveling to different destinations in the region.Doha Port’s Grand Cruise Terminal features a large aquarium and digital interactive panels for educational entertainment. It also houses an art gallery and a spacious open-air rooftop terrace, enhancing the overall cruise experience.According to Visit Qatar, the Doha Port is not just a gateway to cruise adventures but also a cultural hub. The Mina District, home to popular attractions like Box Park and The Museum of Islamic Art, has been transformed into an open gallery. An initiative, part of Qatar Museums’ World Wide Walls international mural programme, showcases murals at MIna District painted by artists from Qatar, neighboring GCC nations, and other countries in other regions.Visit Qatar noted that visitors, especially cruise passengers, can explore what is described as the “Santorini of the Middle East”, a charming neighbourhood with cobblestone streets, pastel-coloured buildings, 50 cafes and restaurants, 100 shops, 150 hotel apartments, and a vibrant fish market. The Doha Port has become a must-visit destination, offering a perfect blend of maritime adventure and cultural exploration.