With further government support, Qatar could be well on its way to becoming self-sufficient in the leisure and entertainment sector, according to an official of QSports, organiser of the Summer Entertainment City (SEC).
SEC project director Adil Ahmed said QSports was able to be self-sufficient in running the entertainment city since it opened its doors to the public on the first day of Eid al-Fitr this year.
The SEC runs until August 31 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC).
“This year, we were better prepared and were self-sufficient in terms of our objectives to provide people with fun-filled activities and family-oriented entertainment,” Ahmed told Gulf Times, referring to the challenges wrought by the June 2017 economic blockade imposed on Qatar by four Arab countries.
He said government support such as providing “affordable and viable” venues and locations could help encourage more players in the market, and make Qatar self-sufficient in holding other types of leisure and entertainment-related activities and events.
“In terms of setting up these festivals, QSports is completely self-sufficient now. We have a lot of support from Qatar Tourism Authority; whatever support we got gave us the confidence.
“We can move ahead to such projects. There are still some projects in the market that are still relying on outside entities to come and build here and operate. We’ve done five major festivals in the last 12 months and all have been self-sufficient in terms of our local expertise. We did not import any expertise from overseas, so it is doable provided you have the right support mechanisms in place,” Ahmed noted.
Ahmed said most of the equipment to be used for last year’s entertainment city did not reach the country due to the Gulf crisis, forcing QSports to source out alternative suppliers from Qatar.
“Similar to last year, QSports did not rely on any overseas companies for this year’s Summer Entertainment City; everything is owned by QSports and we were able to invest in expensive equipment rather than getting them from outside sources,” he stressed.
According to Ahmed, the challenges encountered by QSports at the height of the economic blockade “forced us to rethink our business model”, which was to rely on suppliers outside the country.
“The lesson we learned was that we need to build our own expertise, and that’s what we’ve done. This year, everything was managed in-house and we’ve increased our staff from last year’s 26 to more than 80 this year; we basically built our own capability,” Ahmed pointed out.