Food fest, concerts, balloon show and monster trucks among winter attractions
November 28 2021 08:09 PM
The Qatar International Food Festival is currently under way. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
The Qatar International Food Festival is currently under way. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam

* Qatar Tourism announces 'exhilarating' line-up of winter events
* Events also include Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition and Aspire Lake Festival, among others
Qatar Tourism has announced a packed winter calendar for visitors and residents.
"As restrictions on public gatherings ease and borders open, the country is ready to stage in-person events. These include Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), Qatar’s biggest multicultural festival, fine-dining experiences with Michelin-star world-class chefs, Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition and Qatar Live, a series of entertainment shows," Qatar Tourism said in a statement on Sunday.
Qatar Tourism chairman and Qatar Airways Group chief executive HE Akbar al-Baker said, “This year’s winter season is indicative of a restart for Qatar’s unparalleled tourism experiences. With 85% of the population successfully vaccinated and stringent health and safety measures in place, Qatar offers its visitors and residents safe experiences to enjoy with the whole family. It is our immense pleasure to welcome regional visitors as the country prepares to host mega sporting events like FIFA Arab Cup 2021 along with an exciting line-up of festivals and entertainment shows.”
He added, “With our new global promotional campaign ‘Experience a World Beyond’ targeting 17 global markets and the collaborative efforts of Qatar’s ever-growing public and private sector partners, along with initiatives like Qatar Clean and Service Excellence, we are confident that this will be a memorable winter season for all.”

* Qatar International Food Festival
The first in the impressive line-up of events is Qatar’s longest-running food and beverage festival, Qatar International Food Festival, which runs from November 26 to December 17, in its longest edition to date. Taking place at Al Bidda Park, it combines culinary arts with a range of activations, including a live cooking theatre by globally renowned chefs and exciting festivities providing family entertainment for residents and visitors of all ages. Over 140 vendors will serve at the festival.
QIFF stages a cooking theatre every day with three to five demonstrations by renowned chefs. During the opening week of the festival, several world-class chefs, including Frederic Jaunault, Heinz Beck, Kei Kobayashi, Jannis Brevet, Jean Thomas Schneider, David Kinch, Christian le Squer and Gilles Goujon, will participate. The cooking theatre will feature celebrity chefs from the region, including Dani García, Aisha al-Tamimi, Shams al-Qassabi, William Dissen & Saif Rahman, Hervé Courtot, Hassan al-Ibrahim, Grenal Godinho, Aleksandre Ugrekhelidze, Arturo Mendez, Roberto Reatini, Aaj Fernando, Sergio Galaz, Hari Wahyudin and Santiago Guerrero.
The festival additionally hosts food trucks at a stretch of Corniche Street for nine days, starting November 26. There is also a fireworks display at 9pm every weekend - on Thursday, Friday and Saturday - throughout the course of the festival.
While general admission to QIFF is free of cost, multiple VIP areas have beenset up around the festival that can be reserved for QR350 per booking.
Over the last decade, QIFF has grown as a festival, supporting local businesses and contributing to the country’s thriving dining scene by attracting international chefs to open local outlets.

* World Class Chefs
Qatar Tourism, in collaboration with Qatar Airways, Qatar Aircraft Catering Company (QACC) and Kings of Kitchen, has launched the 'World Class Chefs' initiative. The two-year-long initiative hosts high-profile Michelin-star chefs from around the world with the purpose of introducing the destination to the world’s top culinary talent and showcase Doha – an emerging gastronomy hub in the Middle East. The project has already hosted Michelin-star chefs such as chef Julien Roucheteau, chef Wolfgang Becker and chef Aquiles Chavez.

* Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition
The 18th Edition of Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition will open on December 12 and run until December 17 at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC).
The exhibition is a leading platform for modest and contemporary Arabian fashion. Heya is expected to host more than 130 exhibitors, including designers from 10 countries - Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Morocco, Indonesia, India and Turkey - alongside a sizeable presence of home-grown talent.
The exhibition brings together local, regional and international talent, offering opportunities to learn from industry leaders, educate and entertain audiences in Qatar, while contributing to the economy. This year, Heya will feature eight fashion shows, four workshops, four master classes and nine discussions on topics related to the world of fashion and sustainable fashion, with the participation of a group of the most famous fashion experts in Qatar, the region and the world.

* Qatar Live
Shortly after the launch of QIFF, the country will stage Qatar Live. Ten renowned artistes from the Arab world will perform at DECC from December 5 to December 17. Tickets can be purchased via Virgin Megastore (link available on Visit Qatar) and are priced at QR190 for Silver, QR290 for Gold, QR375 for Platinum and QR750 for VIP.
The schedule is as follows:
December 5: Majida El Roumi
December 9: Mutref Al Mutref, Assala and Abdallah al-Rowaished
December 16: Myriam Fares, Assi El Hallani and Salah al-Zadjali
December 17: Aedh Yousef, Asma Lamnawar and Fahad al-Kubaisi

* Family Entertainment
To provide an inclusive experience to families, Qatar Live will also host a Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Experience.
The Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Experience will take place from December 8 to 11 at Lusail Arena. The event will provide an exclusive opportunity to see real-life versions of the famous Hot Wheels monster truck toys.
Tickets for the shows are available online at Virgin Megastore (link available on Visit Qatar). Prices start at QR75 for Bronze tickets.

* Qatar Balloon Festival
Qatar Tourism is the Exclusive Strategic Partner of the Qatar Balloon Festival, which is set to return from December 9 to 18 at Aspire Park. The second edition of the festival is expected to have 35 hot air balloons from around the world participating.

* Aspire Lake Festival:
Qatar Tourism is the Strategic Partner of the Aspire Lake Festival taking place in January 2022. The festival will be a masterpiece for all ages to enjoy, featuring musical and artistic entertainment performed in boats on the Aspire Lake.

* Sports Events
The sporting highlights of the winter season revolve around the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 and the recently concluded Formula 1. Qatar hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix from November 19 to November 21, for the first time ever. Meanwhile, the FIFA Arab Cup 2021 will bring 16 teams from across the Arab world to compete in Doha. Between November 30 and December 18, the event will provide an opportunity to both competitors and spectators to experience the iconic stadiums that will host FIFA World Cup 2022.

* Cruise Season
Following a gap of over a year, Qatar is resuming its cruise activities with its biggest season to date. During the 2021-22 season, Doha Port will receive 76 confirmed calls. Eleven cruise liners will make their maiden calls to Doha with the same number of turnaround calls and 10 ships docking overnight, giving passengers two days to explore the destination’s offerings.

* Ajyal Film Festival and Drive-in Cinema
Qatar Tourism was the Strategic Partner of Ajyal Film Festival, which took place until November 13 across multiple venues, including Katara - the Cultural Village, Sikket Al Wadi Msheireb and the drive-in cinema at Lusail. The festival brought together people of all ages through screenings and events that inspired creative interaction and stimulated cinematic dialogues. The drive-in cinema will continue to run until March 2022.

* Business Events
Business events make up one of the most important tourism sub-sectors and enrich Qatar’s calendar of local events. This winter, Qatar is hosting a slew of trade events. In November, DECC hosted major events related to the tourism sector. These included the sixth edition of Hospitality Qatar and the first edition of Qatar Travel Mart.
The Worldcob Bizz Awards was staged from November 23 to November 26 at The St Regis Doha. The event aims to recognise business excellence and support businesses of all sizes.
In December, the World Innovation Summit for Education will return from December 7 to 9 at Qatar National Convention Centre.

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