The second edition of Shop Qatar, scheduled from January 7 to February 7, 2018 is expected to attract more foreign visitors from various countries around the world, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has said.
Dubbed as “the country’s biggest shopping festival,” QTA noted that the month-long event is designed to appeal not only to residents but also to an international audience.
Shop Qatar serves as the first of a wide range of tourism projects in 2018, backing QTA’s initiatives and programmes in enriching its annual calendar of events to attract more visitors.
“We expect an increase in the number of visitors specifically from different markets worldwide, not only the Gulf market,” QTA’s festivals and tourism events director Mashal Shahbik said, citing the implementation of visitor entry measures to the country, in co-ordination with Qatar’s Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Qatar Airways.
Qatar became “the most open country in the region” after waiving entry visas for citizens of 80 nationalities (free of charge), apart from the extended 96-hour transit visa for airline passengers, Shahbik pointed out.
Among these nationalities include Chinese, Russians and Indians while all others can apply for a tourist e-visa through Qatar Airways’ online portal.
It is learnt that many of these nationalities have started availing these newly-implemented schemes, especially the visa-free entry, to visit and spend their holiday in Qatar.
“Such measures helped a lot to include more people visiting (Qatar), and compensate those coming from the blockading countries,” Shahbik explained.
She said they hope to further boost “economic participation and see a bigger and positive impact” in the upcoming edition of Shop Qatar through intensive promotions.
The first edition of Shop Qatar contributed QR1.06bn to the local economy and recorded a 70.5% hotel occupancy rate during the festival, according to Shahbik. QTA also witnessed a 16.8% increase in the number of visitors to the country throughout the event.
As QTA continues to diversify its tourism events and offerings, she expressed confidence that they will attract more travellers from Europe, Asia Pacific, the Americas and Africa, among other regions, to visit and experience authentic Qatari culture and hospitality.
This year, QTA expects the festival will exceed previous achievements with a rich array of live performances, family-friendly entertainment in a festive and safe environment that reflects local culture and heritage, fashion shows, masterclasses (make up and handicraft), and shopping sales and promotions in 13 participating malls across Qatar.
The festival, in co-operation with QSports, will also feature various outdoor events and attractions this winter such as the Qatar’s largest outdoor trampoline park and ‘Ocean Ball Kids Play’ area at Souq Waqif, in addition to a food court, live entertainment, 30 unique amusement park rides, and more than 60 fun-filled activities from December 25 to April 25, 2018.
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