A unique exhibition by internationally-renowned French artist Richard Orlinski was officially inaugurated Monday at City Center Doha, featuring around 40 pieces of distinctive sculpture.The exhibition, which will run until January 2023, has been launched by Optimise Home under the patronage and presence of HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, chairman of the Qatari Businessmen Association; and HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Faisal al-Thani, chairman of Optimised Holding Company.In a press statement, Orlinski said: “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to hold my first exhibition in Qatar at this special time. I am excited to share with the people of Qatar the selection of art I have chosen that reflect the distinctive artistic and cultural scene of Qatar. I hope people take the opportunity to visit the exhibition and enjoy the art on offer.”Orlinski is one of the world’s best-selling contemporary French artists. He began his career in 2004 with the creation of his first work, a bright red crocodile made of resin, which soon became an iconic piece.The artist held many exhibitions in cities around the world and this exhibition is the first of its kind in Qatar.The artist often exhibits his works at locations accessible to the public – “driven by his desire to democratise art” – just like a major mall in Qatar where many people can visit. He also has nearly 5mn followers on Instagram.Reda Salem, group general manager of Optimise Holding, said: "I am delighted to support this unique exhibition, which will enrich the art scene in Qatar. Qatar has long been a fixture in the global art scene and has attracted some of the most renowned international artists. Hosting Richard Orlinski’s exhibition is a wonderful opportunity for residents and visitors to see and acquire these unique pieces.”Mahdi Shihab, general manager of Optimise Home, added: “We are delighted to collaborate with international artist Richard Orlinski and have been keen to organise this exhibition to the highest standards so that visitors can enjoy the fine art and have a special experience. The pieces of art on display have been selected carefully and we hope that they will impress the visitors.”Orlinski's exhibition, supported by Optimise Home and organised by Bel Air Fine Art, puts a spotlight on the importance of protecting endangered species, according to Bel Air Fine Art gallery manager Martial Ricart.Ricart said he sees future collaboration between their companies, providing what he described as a great opportunity to further promote and develop the art scene in Doha.
Apart from being one of the most active and liveliest spectators, the Mexican football fans are also among the top spenders, especially for premium and luxury items such as jewellery and watches, during the ongoing FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.Speaking to Gulf Times, Shine Gold & Diamonds' marketing head Sameer Adam said Mexicans have contributed mainly to their sales, buying diamonds and gold items such as necklaces and bracelets, mostly in the 18karat range."We've witnessed a lot of Mexican shoppers coming to our stores to buy different jewellery items, followed by Brazilian and Ecuadorian fans, as well as other Latin American visitors particularly during the group stage of the tournament," he explained.Adam said he finds the Gold Souq and Souq Najadah's location - where nine of their 13 stores are set up - as an advantage since it is within the central bus station and Souq Waqif area - a meeting point and popular tourist destination in Qatar. Qatar’s gold and jewellery market has been witnessing an upward trend in sales even in the lead-up to the hosting of the World Cup, and was further boosted by the influx of visitors.This was echoed by employees of other jewellery and watches shops in Doha citing a demand surge for such items since the start of the tournament where many of their customers were Mexicans.An employee of a leading watch shop chain in Qatar said he witnessed an influx of Mexican shoppers at their store, located at a major mall in Doha, from November 19 and until the last day of tournament's group stage. "We've seen many Mexican shoppers buying watches, of course the brands that they know and familiar with, and we consider it as a windfall for us during this period (World Cup)," he said. "I think second in our list are Brazilians, they too are looking for automatic timepieces and spending much on these items."He said that he expects that such trend could slow down naturally as the number of football teams now is lesser compared to the first few days of the World Cup when all 32 participating teams were still playing.Though a large number of fans like Mexicans and Brazilians may have left the country, the watch shop employee remains optimistic in the coming days as shoppers - fans and supporters of the four remaining teams - have plenty of time to visit the malls and shopping centres during the day and after every match in the evening.A popular perfume brand at a major malls also witnessed its sales soaring when thousands of Mexican football fans were still roaming around the city, according to one of its employees. "I really miss them (Mexicans) not only because they make the mall lively and in festive mood but also our sales was really up every day."Even several hours before their flight, We've seen them here at the mall shopping for various items, including perfumes. I hope we can attract other fans to buy our products," she added.
The Garden of GREAT - UK's pavilion in Doha - has attracted more than 30,000 football fans, including many dignitaries so far, since it opened in time for the ongoing FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, British ambassador Jon Wilks said on Thursday."You have here the ancient diversity represented by the two teams (England and Wales) and the modern diversity of the UK, which comes from the communities that have migrated since the Second World War in the last 70 years, mainly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, but also from the Afro-Caribbean Islands and more recently from Africa and the Commonwealth countries," he explained."You will see elements here of modern technology, interactive technology, obviously horticulture and we're going to use some elements of this garden for the Horticultural Expo 2023, which will be held in Doha next year," he told reporters at a tour and talk yesterday at the pavilion, which reflects the stunning and colourful gardens in the UK.Almost a third of all visits annually to the UK include a trip to a garden or park with those visitors spending a total of £8.9 billion during their stay, it was pointed out.The Garden of GREAT, open throughout the tournament, provides an opportunity for residents and visitors not only to unwind but also discover British culture without leaving the Middle East. Presented by the UK Government's GREAT campaign, the garden puts a spotlight on UK creativity and diversity, inviting visitors to see a different side of the UK through a series of immersive installations, showcasing UK music, design, fashion and food.From ice-cream crafted by Michelin starred chef Vineet Bhatia and singing stepping-stones from Nigerian-Welsh music artist Kima Otung, to flowers scented by world renowned perfumer Jo Malone CBE the garden is a global showcase of #GREATCreativity across music, food, fashion, art and design.The garden also hosted a series of live performances as part of The British Council’s UK Festival which ran from November 23 to 29, including DJs Jamz Supernova and Katie Owen, in addition to ‘For the Game’ parkour shows by the Urban Playground, and Welsh rap and hip-hop artist Todz.With a a large number of visitors visiting Qatar during the tournament, the GREAT programme at the World Cup aims to inspire GCC and international audiences to visit, study, and do business in the UK.
Despite their heartbreaking loss to Croatia, the Samurai-Blue and Japanese supporters have left a very strong and positive impression about Japan during the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar on and off the pitch through their actions, Japanese ambassador Satoshi Maeda has said.The envoy told Gulf Times that since the start of the tournament, he read many articles mentioning the politeness and discipline of the Japanese people such as the team members cleaning their locker room after the matches while supporters cleaned the stadium before leaving.“This small act of respect towards the place that we visit is actually instilled in every Japanese since early childhood. That's our long time tradition and there is no surprise when they do the same thing after football games.“But I'm so happy to see that many people praised their activity and as we have seen later on, many other fans from different countries were inspired by the Japanese fans and started to do the same after each game. So I’m happy that this started a good tradition in football games,” Maeda said.The envoy lauded the Japanese team’s performance, saying it was impressive and surprised their fans after winning the top spot in Group E, which was also known as “Group of Death”.The Japanese team played with high spirits, shrewd tactics and staged a stunning win over Germany and Spain – both World Cup champions – and advanced to the round of 16, Maeda recalled.“The defeat against Croatia was heartbreaking indeed but we found our solace in the fact that the team gave 110% of their effort and gave us one of their best performances ever, relentlessly fighting to the end but luck was not on our side this time.“I’m very proud of them for their great performance in the four matches they have played and would like them to return home with pride and a smile on their faces. In fact, at this rate, I’m confident that Japan will advance much further in the upcoming World Cup to the semi-finals or perhaps even further,” he added.Maeda lauded the organising of the World Cup in Qatar, saying “the tournament has definitely exceeded all my expectations."“The world cup of firsts” as they say, it’s the first FIFA World Cup with teams from all continents in the round of 16, at the same time, Japan, Australia and Korea Republic have also made Asian football confederation record for reaching knockout stages, Japan winning over two World Cup Champions Germany and Spain...it has certainly been a wonderful journey so far,” he said.The Japanese ambassador cited the state-of-the-art stadiums, excellent transport network, and various cultural experiences, which captured the attention and hearts of the fans who have come to support their teams.He said throughout the tournament, everything proved to be functional and the compact nature of the tournament has turned it into an exceptional experience that is difficult to be repeated again, especially in light of FIFA’s decision to increase the number of participating teams in the upcoming tournaments.“I sincerely believe that Qatar should be proud of this achievement as should be all the Arab countries. This is the true legacy that Qatar will leave on for the future generations,” Maeda said.About plans by the Japanese government to host the FIFA World Cup in the future, he said it won’t be a surprise if Japan looks forward to hosting the event due to the rising popularity of football in Japan – boosted by the FIFA World Cup (hosted jointly with the Republic of Korea in 2002).“Although, I honestly don’t have any information on the subject so far. On the other side, should Japan ever be awarded the right to host the FIFA World Cup, I’m certain that we have a lot to learn from Qatar in terms of the compact and sustainable nature of the World Cup Qatar 2022,” Maeda added.
The FIFA World Cup – football in particular – can play a key role in raising awareness on the importance of achieving the UN sustainable development goals (SDGs), UN-Habitat executive director Maimunah Mohd Sharif has said. “Local action is at the heart of sustainable development. This is what we mean when we talk about SDG localisation. Local and city governments must work side by side with national governments to achieve the SDGs by 2030.“I hope this message will be loud and clear and that football fans can bring it home to their countries,” she said.Sharif took part in a cycling tour at Msheireb Downtown Doha on Tuesday, held on the sidelines of the tournament, as part of an environmental initiative titled “Cycle to Recycle”. In partnership with Education Above All, it aims to create a movement that encourage alternative ways in promoting more sustainable cities.She said that millions of football fans can learn more and help in achieving the SDGs by 2030. According to UN-Habitat, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes a dedicated Goal on cities, SDG 11 – to make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.Sharif cited Msheireb, which was designed and built as a compact and walkable neighbourhood, as an example of urban regeneration: its walkways, piazzas and arcades encourage people to walk and has a sustainable transport system with the Msheireb Tram connecting directly to the metro. She noted that many buildings are LEED-certified and Msheireb serves as an example of sustainable resource management and adoption of the 3R approach – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.“As I always like to do things my way, I can add a fourth R - Rethink. We should re-think how we plan and manage our communities. SDG 11 (make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable) is not a goal that stands on itself. It is strongly linked with other SDGs.“If we plan and manage our cities sustainably, we help them to develop economically and reduce poverty and hunger, as stated in SDG1 (no poverty) and SDG 2 (zero hunger).“We can achieve better health outcomes – SDG3. We can spend more on public services, education, and infrastructure – Goal 6. We can improve water and sanitation—Goal 6. And we can have better energy – Goal 7. To achieve our goals, we need to make our cities resilient,” Sharif said.She underlined the importance of having more public spaces, which means more football fields for children to raise future super stars. However, she noted that public spaces in cities not only provide space for physical exercise but also help build better communities. “City governments who invest in public infrastructure get a positive return on their investment by reducing healthcare costs or enhancing productivity,” Sharif added.
An environmental initiative “Cycle to Recycle” aimed at raising awareness about the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was launched Tuesday, featuring a cycling tour around Msheireb Downtown Doha.The event, organised by UN-Habitat in co-operation with Education Above All (EAA) Foundation, Msheireb and Doha Cyclists, brought together 30 participants from different sectors of society, including Qatari Minister of Sports and Youth HE Salah bin Ghanim al-Ali, Morocco’s Minister of Culture Othman El Ferdaos, UN-Habitat executive director Maimunah Mohd Sharif, EAA Foundation CEO Fahad al-Sulaiti, and Rwandan cyclist Moise Mugisha.UN-Habitat is working in more than 90 countries, including 18 in the Arab region supporting people in cities and human settlements for a better urban future.“The idea why we’re hosting it in Msheireb Downtown because this is a sustainable city, we’re learning about sustainability, promoting good health and wellbeing and we are partnering with the UN agency called UN-Habitat,” EAA Engagement manager George Tavola told Gulf Times.He said the Ooredoo-sponsored event was held on the sidelines of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar and forms part of EAA’s ongoing ‘Scoring 4 the Goals’ campaign.The campaign calls for action in support of SDGs to encourage people around the world to do their part in bringing about a more peaceful and prosperous future for all.While EAA hosts an array of activities at its pavilion at the FIFA Fan Festival throughout the World Cup, Tavola noted that its latest initiative is an offside activity aimed at promoting recycling through cycling – a carbon-neutral sustainable form of transportation.The cyclists visited a number of green spaces, an electric charging station and Msheireb’s electric tram (to promote electric cars as opposed to carbon-based transport technologies), and museums at MDD to learn more about the history of Qatar.“Cycle to Recycle”, organisers noted, also aims to create a movement that would encourage alternative ways in promoting more sustainable cities, including shedding light on different modes of mobility.EAA’s Creative lead Mubarak Nasser al-Thani said the event underlines the synergies between the entities in Qatar and UN-Habitat to work jointly towards achieving the SDGs and the importance of using alternative sustainable transport such as cycling.Before the start of the cycling tour, Sharif said in her speech: “You might wonder why we mention sustainable development during this event. Football is a mass sport with millions of fans and followers. If people learn about Sustainable Development Goals here, they will know more and will help us achieve more. This means we have higher chances of achieving our Global Goals by 2030.”The event puts a spotlight on SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure), SDG 11 (inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities), and SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production patterns). The participants rode through the streets of Msheireb to explore the features that make the district the world’s first smart and sustainable downtown regeneration project.“EAA is committed to using education to help transform lives and bring about a better world for everyone, and perhaps nothing is more important than sharing knowledge about ways in which on what we can all do in order to bring about a cleaner, healthier future. Learning to take simple every day actions, like cycling, recycling, and conserving energy, will go a long way in Scoring 4 the Sustainable Goals,” EAA CEO Fahad al-Sulaiti said in a statement.“Scoring 4 the Goals” underscores the value of football in enhancing sustainable development, peace, tolerance, inclusion, and climate action. The campaign was launched three months ago at the UN General Assembly in New York, and is ongoing throughout the World Cup 2022 tournament, with daily activations and engaging discussions.Msheireb Properties Marketing and Communications’ director Dr Hafez Ali Ali said the event takes place in the heart of Doha, at MDD, the sustainable eco-friendly city district that is equipped with smart facilities while embodying the true Qatari heritage.He noted that MDD is now a role model for modern sustainable cities, in line with Qatar’s ambitious strategy to tackle the climate change challenge, and achieve low carbon emissions.“We are proud that we are leading a new norm in the construction sector, and honoured to share our knowledge and expertise in this field to collaborate together in accomplishing the UN’s SDGs,” Dr Ali said.
While many football fans continue to enjoy the wide variety of Arabic food in Qatar, the FIFA World Cup 2022 is also showcasing the diverse culinary scene across the country.“The food I have eaten until now is mostly burgers and pizzas, because I am from Saudi Arabia and I haven’t eaten traditional food here since it’s the same,” Mishaal Alsabti told *Gulf Times, adding that he find it easy to look for the cuisines he likes in Qatar since arriving two weeks ago.He said he also spent time visiting places in the country such as the Katara – the Cultural Village, Lusail city, Msheireb Downtown Doha, and Souq Waqif, which have been attracting a large number of football fans since the start of the international tournament on November 20.Like Alsabti, it is learnt that many visitors from neighbouring GCC countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE have been spending a longer period in Qatar to experience the tournament and try the numerous food offerings.Mohamed F from Oman said that while he prefers Italian food such as pasta and pizza over other international cuisines, he still craves for American burgers and is thankful that it is widely available in Qatar.“I love to visit Souq Waqif and Msheireb because I can just dine anywhere ... you can’t go wrong,” he said. “Everything is authentic but restaurants are always full.”“Of course there are a lot of international restaurants and coffee shops at the malls and shopping centres,” he added.Travellers who just visited other countries in the Gulf, like Cathy from Estonia, said she has tried Indian food, shawarmas, Arabic hummus, and falafels “and other kinds of stuff”.“But the choices here are very diverse, with a lot of different cuisines on offer, so I don’t have enough time to try everything,” she said.About her experience in Qatar in general, Cathy noted that “with the Hayya card, everything is easy, it is working perfectly well”.She cited Qatar and the region’s high level of safety and security, saying that “there are no issues so far”.Many football fans find it convenient to visit popular dining destinations across Doha via public transportation, particularly the Doha Metro, connecting one location to another.Choi from South Korea said she enjoyed riding the metro while exploring Doha, having lunch at City Center Doha, and dinner at Villaggio Mall with her compatriot.“For Arabic food we head to Souq Waqif because it is highly recommended based on the discussions online, and many fans are celebrating there in the evening after a match,” she said.Whether the South Korean team wins or not, she said she will be spending a few more days in Qatar to visit other places and try other cuisines and beverages, especially Indian and Filipino food.
South Korean ambassador Lee Joon-ho has urged Korean football fans to explore Qatar, adhere to its laws and respect local culture for them to enjoy their visit during the FIFA World Cup 2022.Prior to the South Korea vs Brazil match Monday, the envoy told Gulf Times that the embassy’s main goal off the field is to empower Korean nationals to have a safe and fun visit to Qatar."Qatar is a diverse, fascinating country with a rich culture and a variety of entertainment options. Important aspects of daily life in Qatar are different than in Korea due to both laws and culture. To make the most of their visit to Qatar during the World Cup, I encourage all Koreans to learn about Qatar while you are in Qatar, follow the law of Qatar, and respect the local culture."The embassy stands by to assist you in many ways once you arrive. I wish all our nationals have an amazing experience here in Qatar during the World Cup," Joon-ho said, adding that he was very pleased to join them in cheering for the national team at the tournament.The envoy stated he is also pleased with the Korean national team’s extraordinary performance at the group stage of the World Cup, which began on November 20 and will conclude on December 18.“The Korean national team has upped their games with talented players, and all players have trained very hard so far,” he added.The South Korean football team defeated Portugal 2-1 during the group stage to qualify for the Round of 16 of the tournament.
Indonesia is exploring the possibility of giving expatriates in Doha visa-on-arrival entry aimed at further attracting more visitors from Qatar, Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno has said. “There is an idea given by the tours and travel community here (Doha) - we could issue visa on arrival for countries, basically citizens of other countries but with a Qatar ID... so we could tap much wider potential markets because Qatar has large expatriate communities,” the minister told reporters during his recent visit.“And having direct flights to Indonesia, not just one destination but several destinations, would be a good way to tap that potential,” he said, citing Indonesia’s strong tourism recovery post-Covid-19 pandemic. Indonesia’s Ministry of Investments noted that the '10 New Balis' project, which consists of 10 destinations in Indonesia that are assigned to be ‘the next Bali’, is projected to attract a large number of visitors, including those from the Middle East.The '10 New Balis' includes Borobudur Temple (Central Java), Belitung (Sumatra), Mount Bromo (East Java), Labuan Bajo (East Nusa Tenggara), Lake Toba (North Sumatra), Thousand Islands (Jakarta), Mandalika (West Nusa Tenggara), Wakatobi (Southeast Sulawesi), Tanjung Lesung (Banten) and Morotai (North Maluku), according to the ministry.“I’m pretty sure that we’re segmenting the right market and we are very optimistic that we will be able to attract more tourist arrivals from Qatar, as well as expatriate communities living in Qatar,” Uno said, as he highlighted the key role that Qatar plays as a hub for tourists inbound to Indonesia.He also underscored the importance of holding the Qatar-Indonesia Year of Culture 2023, saying it will further strengthen the “already close bilateral relationship at all levels”, from people to people, business to business, communities to communities, and educational institutions.This unique cultural initiative, the minister said, provides a lot of opportunities between the two countries such as boosting the tourism sector and creative economy. “We are very excited and we are preparing a series of events to commemorate this Year of Culture and hopefully we could benefit from it, both Qatar and Indonesia.“For me in particular, I want to look for more investments coming from Qatar in the area of tourism because we see how hospitality has been transformed here and although we have the human capital, but I would say we're in a very serious need to upgrade our amenities, accommodation, hotels, specially new destinations,” Uno said.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar provides an opportunity for Indonesia to better prepare for its hosting of the Under-20 (U-20) tournament next year, particularly in using the latest football technologies and in organising sporting events, Indonesia’s Tourism and Creative Economy Minister Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno has said.Speaking to reporters at the embassy, he said Indonesia could learn from the event’s use of state-of-the-art technologies in enhancing people’s experience, crowd control and ticketing, in addition to the semi-automated offside technology during matches. “We should see how the game has changed and it's showcased here in Qatar, the use of technology to determine offside goals, something that's appeared like the Japan goal (against Spain),” the minister said. “When you see it with your eyes from a certain angle it’s definitely out, but because of the use of technology, they're able to call the right outcome."Lauding Qatar for organising the 2022 edition of the tournament splendidly, he said they learned a lot from its preparations, including the FIFA applications – “an astonishing technology that this World Cup has introduced”.This, Uno noted, allows fans in the stadium to watch and able to see the players’ statistics, name tags and other relevant information using the applications. He also lauded the well-maintained level of safety and security at the tournament with several facilities and measures in place to protect football fans while they enjoy roaming around.The minister said he witnessed how fans are enjoying and celebrating after winning every match, usually held at iconic locations such as Souq Waqif.Many people have also been visiting places such as Msheireb Downtown Doha, the Doha Corniche, Souq Al Wakra and various fan zones to experience an array of shows and activities. “I think this is a very good showcase, it’s the first time a World Cup is held in the Middle East and I think it would open up opportunities for a country such as Indonesia to host similar events in the future,” the minister said.The tournament in Qatar, Uno added, provides economic opportunities and huge job creation for the country, and “this is something that we want to do also for the FIFA World Cup U-20 next year”. “I think it's also time for Indonesia not just to promote sand, sea, and sun but also serenities, virtuality, and sustainability, and for a country of 270mn people and 17,000 islands, I think it's going to boost the image of tourism having a presence here in Qatar.“First the use of technology; second, how security and the health aspects are being truthfully watched; and also I would say, sustainability, how it could be more focus on green economies and jobs,” he said.About the World Cup in Qatar, Uno said he finds the event “very well organised, well marketed and well promoted”, as he sees excitement on the ground.Apart from a vibrant culture and art scene, and the use of technology, he said he saw the involvement of local businesses, as well as small and medium enterprises.“I think this is also a very well-prepared World Cup, probably the first major event that I see live after the pandemic and I would say that this will be an inspiration to the world,” the minister said, adding that the tournament allows Indonesia to promote its tourism and creative economy. “This is something that we’re able to show the world how football is magnificent, it's able to unite people. It's a tense match but after that, everybody becomes family – something that is truly remarkable,” he added.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar has ignited creativity among football fans and volunteers, either to showcase their nation’s heritage, make new friends, or simply express their excitement and enthusiasm for the sport.Every match since the start of the tournament on November 20 at Al Bayt Stadium witnessed a large number of supporters cheering for their teams by wearing colourful dresses or traditional costumes and painting their faces with flags and football-inspired designs.It is learnt that such a trend fascinated many people who want to join the frenzy in the metro, stadiums, in some of the most visited sites in Doha such as Souq Waqif, Katara – the Cultural Village, Msheireb Downtown Doha or while heading to watch the matches at the venues or fan zones.Japanese national Tomi shows his support for his team by wearing a traditional dress and greets incoming fans by singing and playing his guitar while taking pictures and videos with them at the stadium’s entrance.“I am really enjoying this World Cup, people say Japanese anime is great and Japanese people have kindness... and (they) pick the garbage so they like Japanese,” he said.Tomi is just one of the many friendly supporters who not only attracts and entertains the crowd but also puts a spotlight on this country’s heritage.This was also underlined by the increasing demand and popularity of wearing traditional Arab dress such as thobe, ghutra, and igal – designed with the flags of participating nations and sold at various outlets in the city.Javier, a Spanish supporter, said that he finds these kinds of attire unique, attractive, and impressive in a tournament like the World Cup, compared to the usual jerseys and sports apparel.“Such ingenuity helps promote a nation or a region’s culture, which sparks curiosity among visitors and those who watch it on social media pages, so it may eventually entice many people to explore the destination,” he added.This was echoed by a Polish supporter, Arthur, saying these fashion trends also presented creative ways to promote the tournament and for fans to familiarise themselves with the culture of the host nation, as well as the region.“I hope I get to see more of these in the coming days, weeks until December 18, the finals, and hopefully even in the next World Cup because it gives us plenty of artistic ideas,” he pointed out.Volunteers, especially those who guide metro passengers at various stations, found a way to do their jobs in an entertaining way. Apart from ‘metro man’ Abubakr Abbass’ “Metro? This way. Metro? This way,” several other volunteers have been welcoming fans of different teams by dancing and singing their usual phrases of chants like as ‘Ole Ola’ or mentioning their nationality and adding the word “This Way” such “Espanol, This Way”.
Apart from a well-organised FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, football fans from various countries have lauded the high-level of safety and security in the host nation and the people’s warm and friendly reception. Steven and Mica from Jamaica, who were enjoying their visit at the Msheireb Downtown Doha Wednesday, cited what they described as “an extremely safe environment in the country.” “We have so much respect with the country, it’s way far from what is shown and published by critics in the media. It is very safe and we are enjoying it here very much,” Steven stressed. Alex R from Argentina echoed the same view, citing the extraordinary safety that is in place in the stadiums and across the country. “Very nice quality of tournament, very safe place, no criminality, well organised, and excellent transportation,” Alex said. However, he suggested there should be more restaurants to reduce the rush and transportation beyond 3am, so as to make it easy for fans to return to their hotels and homes. “But otherwise, the World Cup is well organised, Qataris are very nice people, sophisticated, warm, welcoming and willing to spare time to help and assist anybody,” added Alex who also attended the last few World Cups. Qatar has been ranked the safest country in the world by Numbeo from 2020 to 2022 in terms of crime and general safety, while Doha ranks second as the safest city in Numbeo’s Crime Index by City in 2022. Mexican supporter Carlos Domingez, who also supports the USA team since he lives in Atlanta, said "it's been an amazing experience we feel so safe you can walk in the middle of the night and everybody is so friendly." He said in this World Cup, he experienced how politics, race, religion and beliefs have been set aside after Iranian supporters in Qatar helped and brought him home safely the other night after watching the matches. Matthew, a South African who lives in Doha, urged football fans from various countries to visit Qatar, saying "you wouldn't be disappointed." Matthew was supposed to take a vacation back home but decided to extend his stay to experience the World Cup and what it has to offer. Matthew said he witnessed the 2010 World Cup in his home country, and is now experiencing the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. "There are so many things that you can do (here) and there are so many things free as well, it is so warm, it is so welcoming, and all the songs are amazing," he added.
The first FIFA Fans' Cup kicked off Tuesday at the FIFA Fans Festival, featuring 32 teams representing each of the nations competing in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and underlining the key role of football fans in the success of the prestigious tournament.The special event, organised for the first time in the history of the FIFA World Cup, was attended by Legacy Ambassadors Marcos Evangelista de Morais (Cafu), Samuel Eto’o, Ronald de Boer, and Xavi Hernandez, as well as Supreme Committee and Delivery’s (SC) Communications and Media executive director Fatma al-Nuaimi, and football fans.“I think it (Fans' Cup) is amazing. In the end, we play for the fans, we play for spectators, they are one of the most important parts of football so this tournament is so important and I hope they will enjoy it. All the best especially for Spain. It is a very good initiative, I am happy to be here and I am honnoured also,” Hernandez said.According to SC, the four-day five-a-side competition, which will conclude on December 2, is played in the same format as the FIFA World Cup with group and knockout stages until a team bags the championship.Like the World Cup schedule, the Fans' Cup opening matches Tuesday saw the Qatar team competing with Ecuador and Iran against England, held at the two pitches at Al Bidda Park.“The fans are the heart and soul of every game and we want to organise a tournament that is similar with the schedule as the World Cup where we have 32 competing teams from the competing nations,” said al-Nuaimi, adding that the winning team will take home $20,000.A number of participants like Faisal from the Netherlands team lauded the initiative, saying it provides an opportunity for fans to enjoy and have “some nice time with each other and getting more involved in football".“I am happy to play in this tournament and like what Xavi has said, it is not only about the players but also about the fans,” he said, expressing optimism that his team will win the tournament.“I have seen other teams and I expect the level would be high but we will see, we will enjoy the game, enjoying the game is the most important thing,” Faisal stressed.Alex from Ghana shared the same view saying “I am happy and excited about the Fans Cup, it is the first time in World Cup history and I am so proud of FIFA and Qatar Football Association for organising this tournament".South Korean national Tuni Hao said he is enjoying the World Cup and felt honoured to be one of the Fans' Cup players representing his country. He hopes his team will be the champion of the tournament.
Renowned angklung artistes from Indonesia enthralled football fans from various parts of the world with their dazzling performances for 11 days at Katara – the Cultural Village.The cultural event, in line with the FIFA World Cup 2022 celebrations, puts a spotlight on Indonesia’s rich culture and heritage with Saung Angklung Udjo’s live performances. It was organised by the Indonesian embassy in Doha in collaboration with Katara from November 18 to 28.“Around 12 angklung performers from Indonesia and hundreds of performers from our community in Qatar has joined this show. It is part of our public diplomacy to build understanding among the international communities in Qatar through culture”, said Indonesian ambassador Ridwan Hassan in a press statement.The embassy brought Saung Angklung Udjo from Bandung to Doha to give residents and visitors a series of unique cultural presentations using traditional musical instruments.This was backed by the performances of Indonesian diaspora members in Qatar, with the support from the Indonesian Ministry of Education and Culture and the Association of Indonesian Community in Qatar (Permiqa).“On the stage, visitors not only enjoy our performance but also were able to practice how to play angklung” said Taufiq Udjo, the team leader from Saung Angklung Udjo, Bandung.Angklung, an Indonesian musical instrument made of bamboo, originated in West Jawa. Unesco inscribed angklung as the ‘Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ in 2010, the embassy noted.Angklung tubes symbolise human life: the large and small tubes located next to each other in each instrument represent an individual's growth and capabilities. Different tube sizes signify the truth that all people have different roles to play to create harmony and peace in this world.“Angklung symbolises nothing but beauty in harmony. No matter how strong or capable we are, we could never present the masterpiece without integration and cooperation,” Hassan said.Udjo’s House of Angklung is located in the eastern part of Bandung, and aims to underline the “beautiful harmony of vibrating bamboos that echoes from this simple amphitheater all the way to the other side of the world”, according to Wonderful Indonesia’s website. “It spreads the values of simplicity, co-operation, unity, and togetherness, as well as maintaining the mutual relationship between humans and the environment”.Outside Katara, Indonesian cultural activation artists have also attracted a huge number of football fans with their live performances at Metro stations. Several other Indonesian cultural performances and activities were held in various locations in Qatar in the lead up to the FIFA World Cup.
The football frenzy in the FIFA World Cup 2022 goes beyond the four corners of the stadium as fans explore what Qatar has to offer.“I walked around almost the entire Doha Corniche, it is beautiful and we took a boat ride, that was great, the (Doha) skyline was gorgeous,” Cesar from the US told Gulf Times. He has been roaming around Doha to discover some of the country’s hidden gems.In his recent visit to Souq Waqif, Cesar said he had the chance to dine at a famous restaurant offering authentic Qatari cuisines – referring to Shai Shamoos, owned by the famous Qatari chef, Shams al-Qassabi.“It was delicious, very traditional Qatari food, it was really good. We really wanted local cuisine since we have a lot of international food at home,” said Cesar, who is often seen taking pictures with other fans at Metro stations.Al-Qassabi’s restaurant at the bustling and popular tourist spot is one of the most sought-after dining destinations by many visitors who want to get a taste of local cuisine.He was also fascinated with Qatar’s stunning architecture and modernity – as seen during his visit to Msheireb Downtown Doha, the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, and the West Bay area.Slim from Tunisian echoed Cesar’s view citing Qatar’s diverse offerings as a destination, from its warm hospitality to its cultural attractions, as well as its numerous malls and shopping centres.“I passed by Souq Waqif three to four times daily and it is big, it has much traditional stuff here. I bought abaya, a traditional Qatari dress, for my mother. I am happy to be here and I discovered many other spaces in Qatar,” said Slim, who also lauded Qatar’s successful organising of the FIFA World Cup 2022.He said he was happy to see and meet different nationalities from various countries at Qatar’s traditional locations like the souq as they share their experiences since arriving in the country for the tournament.“I like Majboos, this is a specialty here, it is very good,” Slim stressed.Like Slim, many football fans find Souq Waqif as a vibrant and festive spot to hang-out and celebrate a team's win, drawing crowds who also share the same ecstasy and enthusiasm.A group of Pakistani nationals who witnessed the motion art projections on the Ministry of Interior (MoI) building on Sunday was impressed with the extraordinary cleanliness and safety across Qatar.The event showcased Qatar's past and present with such creativity, along with synced music, celebrating the staging of the prestigious 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.Taka from Japan, along with his compatriots, enjoyed meeting supporters of other participating teams outside stadiums, taking pictures and videos with them, since the first day of the tournament.He said the World Cup also provides an opportunity for fans like him to visit and explore the region, including neighbouring countries like Oman.“I’m in Oman (now) but I will return to Qatar on Dec 1. Oman is good so far, good weather, mountain, desert, white clean buildings, beautiful ocean, and warm welcome by people,” Taka said.Other Japanese visitors like Kohi and his friends shared a similar observation with Pakistani fans, saying they find Qatar clean, safe and beautiful with a lot of potentials to become a leading tourism destination.While Japan has its own appeal among tourists, he said Qatar’s charm comes from its rich heritage and traditions that cannot be found in other regions – a reason why they plan to stay more.Kohi said they plan to visit other places outside the city such as beaches and try some of the desert activities such as dune bashing and camel rides, which they have not experienced before.About food, he said: “So far we’ve tried biryani and kebab for dinner and it is tasty,” he said, while eating a traditional Arabic crepe
Qatar offers a vibrant calendar of festivals and tourism events beyond the ongoing FIFA World Cup, aimed at attracting visitors from different parts of the world, according to Qatar Tourism (QT)."The return of the Formula 1 Qatar Grand Prix in October will serve as one of the highlights for 2023, QT chief operating officer Berthold Trenkel said at a press briefing Sunday.Following the success of its launch in Qatar, the renowned international event will take place in the country for 10 years starting in 2023.Qatar will also host the Geneva International Motor Show in 2023 for the first time during the same period next year, he said.“It will be even more amazing because it is not happening in Switzerland but only in Qatar,” Trenkel pointed out. “Then, we have the AFC Asian Cup 2023 and Expo 2023.”Qatar hosted more than 600 sporting events in the last 10 years, and many of these will continue beyond 2022, including the WTA Qatar Ladies Open and Qatar ExxonMobil (tennis), Commercial Bank Golf Masters (golf), and Grand Prix of Qatar (motorcycling).Qatar will also host the 2030 Asian Games.“The FIFA World Cup is a great springboard to get us underway for this goal of 2030,” Trenkel said, citing the QT’s six demand spaces: active holidays; relax and rejuvenate; sun, sea and sand; culture enthusiasts; luxury city breaks; and romantic getaways.He said that nationals from more than 95 countries can enter the country visa-free/visa-on-arrival, which makes it easy to travel to Qatar.The 96-hour stopover will also see its return after the World Cup.Currently, Trenkel noted that from about 31,000 room keys, the number grew to 45,000 with numerous hotels and resorts opening days and weeks prior to the major football tournament.Qatar offers more than 500km of coastline, plenty of beaches, including the beach near Stadium 974 and three recently opened public beaches at West Bay, in addition to the Inland sea and several hotels and beach resorts outside Doha.Besides stadiums, Trenkel urged football fans to explore Qatar’s hidden gems, including the Al Zubarah Unesco World Heritage Site, Souq Waqif, Msheireb Downtown Doha, The Pearl-Qatar, the National Museum of Qatar, the Museum of Islamic Art, and the recently opened 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museums.According to the QT, visitors can also see the Arabian Oryx, kayak through mangroves, or spot Whale Sharks, the largest fish in the world which gathers in large numbers of Qatar’s coast, on a dedicated tour.The impressive “Inland Sea” or Khor Al Adaid, a Unesco-recognised site, lies to the south of Doha, and is one of the few places in the world where the sea blend into the desert.
The post coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic period provides an opportunity to attract more visitors from different countries, especially those who are looking for unique experiences, according to Qatar Tourism (QT).“We see a rebound specifically coming out of the Indian subcontinent, and we are hoping that China will open up and allow their nationals to travel,” chief operating officer Berthold Trenkel said at a press briefing Sunday at the Host Country Media Centre at Msheireb Downtown Doha, highlighting some of Qatar’s best tourism spots and experiences for fans during the ongoing FIFA World Cup.While most visitors to Qatar come from Saudi Arabia and Oman, he noted that the other major sources include the UK, Germany, Italy and India.A big percentage of stopover traffic comes from American and Australian travellers, according to Trenkel.“I think Qatar is a great destination for the right people, and when it comes to tourism, every country is trying to position itself and has a different market, and we have particular spots where we think were extremely attractive and appealing for those people,” he said, adding that Qatar is a great place for people (who are) interested in the Islamic world.Trenkel noted that besides having a modern city with modern infrastructure, Qatar has plenty of healthcare and educational facilities, and is one of the most developed countries in the Middle East.He also underlined the key role that Qatar Airways play in boosting the country’s tourism sector even beyond the prestigious tournament.“Qatar has something very powerful – Qatar Airways – one of the biggest international carriers in the world connecting the East and the West,” he said.QT vice-president for marketing and events Brett Stephenson shared the same view, saying that many people – post-pandemic – are looking for new and curated experiences.“We believe that our premium family travel audience will embrace that and are looking for something different,” he said. “We have the infrastructure now, the facilities, the beach resorts, and all of that, beyond the natural beauty of Qatar.”Besides these offerings, Qatar has been ranked the safest country in the world by Numbeo from 2020 to 2022 in terms of crime and general safety, while Doha placed second as the safest city in Numbeo’s Crime Index by City in 2022.
Msheireb Downtown Doha (MDD) has become a favourite destination for dining, shopping and exploring Qatar’s cultural heritage, attracting a huge number of football fans from various parts of the world.“(The MDD is) very beautiful, very clean, very modern ... I just ate Mexican food and it was delicious,” Dean, who just arrived from Ireland Friday morning, told Gulf Times.He said he plans to explore some Arabic food in Qatar such as kabsa (a mix of rice and lamb), which he tried before in Saudi Arabia.Dean said he was impressed with the MDD’s infrastructure and the subway (Doha Metro), which has been transporting people safely and efficiently.“The transportation system is excellent, the subway (metro), it’s perfect, no complaints. Also, the football stadiums are unbelievable, and so clean,” said Dean, a supporter of the Argentinean football team. “Nice job, Qatar.”The MDD offers an array of local, regional and international cuisines – from cafes to restaurants – spread across the 310,000sq m district, while numerous shops and boutiques showcase a wide range of luxury brands.Food trucks also get a fair share of business due to the influx of customers who find the place relaxing.Located in the heart of Doha, the MDD can be easily accessed via the Doha Metro and other modes of transportation.“It’s been our busiest period so far,” said an employee of a popular food truck chain. “The queue seems endless, and guests like the food that we offer. There is a little difficulty in communicating with them because many cannot speak English or Arabic, but still, we were able to resolve it.”Mehdi S from Iran, meanwhile, said he was enjoying roaming around the district with his compatriot, looking for Persian food for dinner Friday.He was fascinated with the MDD’s design and modernity, which makes it attractive to many.Apart from football matches, the start of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar also witnessed foreign visitors exploring Qatar’s many attractions, touristic and cultural spots such as the MDD – dubbed “the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project and one of the smartest cities on earth”.Juan from Uruguay, who was with his compatriot Leo, said: “This place is so nice, beautiful and modern, it has much colour and much culture.”“There are many things to do (here), to know, and to visit,” he said. “It has a lot of activities for children and for families, and it is one of the most beautiful parts of Doha that I visited. We arrived three days ago.”He noted that they visited Qatar not only for football but also for leisure and to discover the country’s various tourism sites, including the MDD and its museums.Cezar from Sacramento, California, shared a similar view, lauding the many offerings at the MDD, as well as in different places in Qatar that he had visited, such as the Doha Corniche.“It’s our fourth day. It is a little warm but it’s been great, people are amazing, the service is great, everybody is just happy and friendly and I love that," he said.The MDD hosts several events, exhibitions, and activations at its three zones (Baraha, Heritage, and Sikka) throughout the tournament, aimed at providing football fans with exceptional experiences.The MDD also provides an opportunity for people to visit and discover the Al Annabi Village at Msheireb Museums’ Company House; the Universo Olivetti – Italian Exhibition at Mohamed bin Jassem house; and the Frida Kahlo Immersive Art Exhibition at the lower gallery of Bin Jelmood House – all located at the Heritage zone.