Qatar could once again make its mark on the global tourism map as preparations are underway for the proposed first Qatar International Kite Festival slated in April at the Katara Beach.

The three-day event is tentatively set from April 6 at Katara, said Abdulla Maliyekal, captain of the One India Kite Team and member of Arabian Kite Team, who conducted a kite flying demo at Katara Beach Friday.

Maliyekal said his group is currently finalising preparations for the festival, including approvals from Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and other agencies and organisations. Aside from just kite flying, the event will also include kite design workshops and inter-school kite flying competitions, he noted.
“Kite flying is a universal family-oriented entertainment spanning 3,000 years since it was invented in China. In Europe, many families spend their weekends at the beach flying kites, and our group is here in Qatar to raise awareness on kite flying and encourage more families to engage in this activity,” Malikeyal told Gulf Times.
John Prince Idicula, events director of Address International, also said “as a proper festival,” the event would also showcase around 20 big kites and hundreds of small kites, food establishments, competitions, prizes, children’s games, and other activities. The festival is envisioned to be an annual tourism event in Qatar, he said.
“We are planning to invite around 20 to 25 international kite flyers to the festival but we have yet to receive a confirmation from them because the invitations come at short notice. There would be at least five to 10 countries at the minimum to be involved in the event,” Idicula said.
He noted that the event would be an opportunity for expatriates in Qatar to see their own countries represented in the festival.
“Each kite is not just about something flying in the air but it also represents art. The designs of these kites epitomises the culture and tradition of the participating country, which is a very spectacular sight to see.
“So during the festival, Katara would transform into a stage for all those countries and for all the expatriates represented by these participating international kites. All these cultures would come together as one family,” he pointed out.
Friday’s kite flying demo attracted many families to the Katara Beach and some of the spectators even joined in in flying a large circle kite, who, according to Maliyekal, is one of the famous kite designs being used in Italy.
He said the circle kite weighs 12.5kg and has a diameter of 45ft. It is also adorned with 300 spikes that serve as air holes.

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