*Shop Qatar 2018, dubbed as “the country’s biggest shopping festival”, will run until February 7
HE the Minister of Economy and Commerce Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani on Sunday launched the second edition of Shop Qatar, the country’s official shopping festival, in a dazzling event at AlHazm.
The opening ceremony, which included a series of cultural performances and entertainment shows, was attended by several VIPs - including foreign diplomats, government officials and private sector leaders.
The event coincided with a series of shows in malls around the country, marking the beginning of the month-long festival organised by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) in celebration of the country’s diverse retail offerings, against a backdrop of colourful cultural activities.
Shop Qatar 2018, held under the theme “A Brand New Tradition” and dubbed as “the country’s biggest shopping festival”, will run until February 7 - offering residents and visitors discounts on popular brands, car and cash prizes worth up to QR4mn and a rich schedule of fashion and entertainment events.
“Shop Qatar reflects the pioneering role Qatar enjoys as a leading tourist destination in the region. We are currently working on implementing the national tourism strategy in order to present lucrative products in Qatar,” HE the Minister said.
He noted that the number of visitors coming to Qatar has gone up, and also referred to the substantial rise in the number of cruise ships arriving at Doha Port.
QTA acting chairman Hassan al-Ibrahim said the inaugural edition of Shop Qatar was held last year under the directives of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior and “witnessed great success thanks to the wise leadership’s support and the collaborative efforts of public and private sector partners”.
The first edition of Shop Qatar, held in 2017, contributed an estimated QR1.06bn to the local economy, QTA said in a statement.
"We are very pleased to be launching the second edition of Shop Qatar in the presence of our esteemed guests. It is truly a reflection of the government’s support for the tourism sector as an important element in Qatar’s sustainable development in pursuit of Qatar National Vision 2030," he noted. “With the launch of the next chapter of the National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030 late last year, Qatar’s tourism sector embarked on a new phase in its development."
A dazzling performance at the opening ceremony
Rashed al-Qurese, QTA's chief marketing and promotion officer
A traditional Qatari cultural presentation
Artistes during a show
Al-Ibrahim said the strategy identifies key goals and the mechanisms and initiatives that will serve to enhance the visitor experience while providing investment opportunities for local and foreign investors.
He stressed that the festival sheds a spotlight on the “new and enticing additions to Qatar’s burgeoning retail scene”, with 13 malls participating covering nearly 1,000,000sq m of retail space.
Retail outlets around Qatar will be providing special offers and discounts of up to 50% on a range of consumer goods, including clothes, electronics, cosmetics and accessories for men, women and children.
Participating malls are, AlKhor Mall, City Center Mall, Doha Festival City, Gulf Mall, Hyatt Plaza, Lagoona Mall, Landmark Mall, Mall of Qatar, Tawar Mall, The Gate Mall, Villaggio, Ezdan Mall and Dar Al Salam Mall.
Shop Qatar 2018 will celebrate cultures from around the world with themes such as Arabian Week, Bollywood Week and International Week, encouraging mall-goers to continue to discover something new every week throughout the festival. Each week will feature themed musical events organised by members of the local private sector.
“Shop Qatar is the country’s largest shopping festival, and one of the largest and fastest growing in the region,” QTA's chief marketing and promotion officer Rashed al-Qurese said. “We are proud of the partnerships that have enabled us to develop a nationwide event that celebrates Qatar’s rapid development as a global shopping, leisure and luxury destination, while shining the spotlight on our entrepreneurs, local tourism services and authentic Qatari experiences."
"We are particularly grateful to Qatar Development Bank for their support in adding dozens of home-grown businesses and products to the festival’s offering,” al-Qurese added.
In its second edition, he said Shop Qatar promises to continue with its tradition of celebrating Qatar’s varied retail offerings with residents and visitors. "The festival’s cultural focus this year is a nod to the country’s diverse social fabric, and an echo of our message of welcome to the world," the QTA official noted.
Shop Qatar marks the first in a series of nationwide festivals QTA will be hosting this year and which form part of its strategy to maintain a lively calendar of annual events, according to al-Qurese. "As the festivals continue to develop and evolve, we are particularly pleased to see the growing involvement of our private sector partners year after year.”
* Arabian Week: The first week of the festival (until January 13), themed Arabian Week, will celebrate the myriad varieties of fashion, music and design from around the Arab world.
Fashion fans can catch up on the latest trends “sweeping countries from Marrakesh to Muscat” at the Arabian Fashion Show being hosted in Mondrian Doha at 7pm on Wednesday, January 10. The showcase of over 100 looks will feature designs by celebrity designers. Those interested can register online via www.talentresources.org/fashion-show-registration. The event is for free and seats will be provided on a first-come-first-served basis.
To wrap up the week, Kuwaiti celebrity makeup artist Hanan al-Najada will be giving a makeup masterclass on January 13 at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha, where women can learn how to perfect their look for 2018. Seats are limited and selling for QR2,000 also at Virgin Megastore.
* Bollywood Week: Bollywood lovers are in for a treat during the second week of the festival. Thanks to a unique line-up of activities at malls and across the country, the period from January 14 to 20 will be a feast of the Indian subcontinent’s vibrant culture and arts.
A dazzling display of saris and lehenga dresses is expected at the Bollywood Fashion Show, to be held at 7pm on January 17 at Mondrian Doha. Over 100 different looks will be on show. Those interested can register online via www.talentresources.org/fashion-show-registration. The event is for free and seats will be provided on a first-come-first-served basis.
Malls participating in Shop Qatar will host a variety of Bollywood-themed pop-up shops, inviting mall-goers to create and personalise their own embroidered khussa slippers, bangles and more.
* Entertainment for the whole family: QTA and its partners have ensured that Shop Qatar 2018 will offer a “rich array of live performances and unlimited family-friendly entertainment in a festive, safe environment that reflects the local culture and heritage”.
The month-long festival also coincides with outdoor carnivals being held at Souq Waqif and Mall of Qatar, giving a variety of choices for families to enjoy the pleasant outdoor weather this winter.
* Supporting local businesses: In support of local entrepreneurs, Shop Qatar organisers, in collaboration with Qatar Development Bank, will set up 30 pop-up shops in Mall of Qatar where small businesses can showcase their products and benefit from the high footfall generated by the festival, all while providing the mall’s visitors with an authentic Qatari experience.
* Chances to win cars and cash prizes worth up to QR4mn: Shoppers who spend QR200 at any of the participating retailers can enter a weekly raffle draw for a chance to win BMW cars and cash prizes worth up to QR4mn. Draws will be held on the first three Thursdays of the festival (January 11, 18 and 25), with two cars and 13 cash prizes ranging from QR10,000 to QR100,000 to be won each week. The final draw will take place at the closing ceremony on February 8.
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