The ninth edition of Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), held from March 15 to 25 at the Hotel Park, attracted more than 400,000 residents and visitors, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) said on Sunday.
In a press statement, QTA said the country’s longest-running culinary event provided festival-goers with “a rich mix of flavours, cultures and entertainment” over the past 11 days.
QTA’s chief marketing and promotion officer Rashed al-Qurese said festivals such as QIFF form part of their wider tourism strategy to grow and diversify the country’s tourism offerings, particularly in the area of family and urban entertainment. “As QIFF continues to grow year on year, we are particularly pleased to see a similar growth in the private sector’s involvement in the country’s festivals,” he noted. “We look forward to continuing such trend as we take steady strides towards accomplishing the goals set in the Next Chapter of Qatar’s National Tourism Sector Strategy 2030.”
More than 180 participants took part in this year’s festival, including 16 hotels, nine embassies in Doha, seven food trucks, 15 stalls for the Torba Market (with 29 participants), 31 volunteers, 77 QIFF Menu participants across Qatar and 34 local, regional and international food celebrities.
The event also featured 29 live cultural performances, 10 fireworks displays (five minutes long), nine film screenings by Doha Film Institute, four QIFF cooking classes and one mini zoo.
“QIFF continues to spread its passion for exciting culinary experiences through the special QIFF Menu, which will continue to be offered at participating restaurants and cafes until March 31,” QTA said.
The Menu offers customers an array of food groupings of at least three menu items at a pre-set price of either QR49 or QR99.
The QIFF Cooking Theatre featured live demonstrations of celebrity chefs who shared best cooking tips and tricks with visitors. The line-up included Austrian-born Wolfgang Puck, US’s Christine Ha, Japan’s Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Kuwait’s Sulaiman al-Qassar, Fawaz al-Omaim and Asma al-Bahar, the Philippines’ Luis Rey ‘Nino’ Logarta, Lebanon’s Chef Ramzi, Turkey’s Murat Bozok and Qatar’s very own Aisha al-Tamimi.
“Qatar is a big destination in the Middle East today and people come from all over the world because Qatar Airways flies everywhere. It is truly an international food city with great food where you can get street food or go to a nice restaurant,” Puck said in a statement.
Echoing Puck’s view, Canada’s renowned pastry guru Anna Olson said: “A visit to Doha is just so easy.” “It’s on the way to so many places but also a destination in itself.”
In a bid to support the local community, QIFF organisers partnered with Msheireb Museums to deliver a healthy food and nutrition awareness programme for 700 schools students from 14 different schools, including Shafallah, earlier this month.
As part of supporting budding entrepreneurs, home-based entrepreneurs also had the chance to promote their products for 11 days at the two booths dedicated for the Social Development Centre’s Nama.
QIFF collaborated with Tarsheed as well, dimming their lights for a minute on March 24 to take part in the international Earth Hour movement.
Katara Hospitality CEO Hamad Abdulla al-Mulla said the festival also gave them the opportunity to showcase the Hotel Park’s “impeccable natural landscape,” which demonstrates the organisation’s commitment to social responsibility and sustainability.
Organisers thanked festival partners, including Msheireb Museums, DFI, beIN, Qatar Culinary Professionals, Askar, Mini Zoo Events, AlRayyan Water, RAW ME, Zomato, Talabat, Uber, Qatar TV, Al Rayyan TV and Olive Radio.
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