Food festival organisers aim to attract more international visitors
February 27 2019 09:57 PM
Mashal Shahbik (left) and Salam al-Shawa.
Mashal Shahbik (left) and Salam al-Shawa.

Organisers of the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) 2019 are aiming to entice more international tourists, including transit passengers, to visit and take part in one of the country’s most anticipated events.

While citizens of 80 countries can enter Qatar visa-free, travellers (all nationalities) with layovers of five hours or more at Hamad International Airport can request for a complimentary transit visa, allowing them to enter the country and stay for up to 96 hours in between flights.

“We will promote QIFF regionally and internationally to attract more visitors to come to Doha and be at the festival,” Qatar Airways senior vice-president for Marketing and Corporate Communications Salam al-Shawa told a recent press conference.

She said they are also planning to organise activities for children to enjoy, in addition to an array of culinary fetes and live cooking demonstrations, roving entertainment shows, and concerts from March 20 to 30 at Education City’s Oxygen Park.

QIFF’s 10th edition, like in previous years, is being organised and delivered by the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) with the support of numerous partners representing the aviation, entertainment, hospitality and food and beverage sectors in the country.

Al-Shawa noted that visitors will also enjoy lots of authentic Indian cuisine during the festival, which also marks this year’s Qatar – India Year of Culture.

Some of the internationally-renowned chefs who are scheduled to showcase their culinary prowess at QIFF’s Live Cooking Theatre will come from India.

Aiming to match QIFF’s achievements in 2018 edition, QNTC expects a large number of visitors this year.

“Our vision is to establish an international festival for food that attracts local, regional and international tourists,” said Mashal Shahbik from QNTC. “The event also aims to showcase Qatari hospitality and for people to taste authentic and diverse cuisine in this country.”

In this edition of QIFF, the festivities will extend to more than 35 restaurants around Qatar from March 1 to 31, offering special food groupings of a three-course menu of three different set menus available at QR45, QR95 and QR125.

The festival also features the Chef’s Menu, where select five-star restaurants across Doha will offer residents and visitors a chance to meet celebrity chefs for an interactive cooking and tasting experience.

The chefs include Nobu Matsuhissa (Japan), Richard Sandoval (US), Francesco Scala and Shane Macneill from Novikov Doha, Eric Lanlard (France), Jason Atherton (UK) and international barista trainer Sam Cevikoz (Turkey).

Organisers noted that the festival dedicated 15% of its spaces to up-coming entrepreneurs and local small and medium entrepreneurs.

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