With sprawling dunes in the south,Qatar Travel & Culture Articles sandy coastlines and islets, reefs and salt flats, the small peninsular nation offers as much natural beauty as it does cultural richness. With its 560-km coastline, Qatar has always been a sea-dedicated community. From a center for fishing and top Palm Beach architects trades in the days gone by, Qatar’s identity has been shaped by an age-old sea oriented civilization, hosting travelers as guests. Highlighting its authentic heritage and rich past, while instilling pride in its future, Qatar is a center of both tradition and innovation.
Blessed with natural resources, the discovery of oil in the 1940s and natural gas in the 1970s gave rise to Qatar’s exponential economic growth since the days of fishing and pearling. Qatar’s huge supply of natural gas is the world’s third largest gas reserves and the largest non-associated gas field. After becoming the largest exporter of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in the world in 2006, Qatar’s exports now cover three continents with one-third of exports going to the US, one-third to Europe and one-third to Asia. Economic diversification in recent years in the fields of construction and real estate investment, tourism and leisure, education and research as well as ample government support to minimize the impact of a global economic slowdown have resulted in the stability of Qatar’s economy.
Today Qatar is leading a surge in interest in the Arabian Gulf. Although conveniently accessible by air on most international carriers, including the national carrier, the 5-star Qatar Airways, the unique atmosphere of Qatar makes it feel as though you are truly off the beaten path.
The emerging MICE destination
Reputed for quality and excellence, Qatar is recognized as a leading destination in the Gulf region for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) offering travelers a business-oriented destination combined with leisure activities. Qatar is a quiet place, far from bustling mass tourism, with all facilities and business opportunities at your fingertips.
In addition to the existing and spacious Doha Exhibitions Center, two new conference centers totaling an additional area of 95,000 sq. m. of exhibition space are scheduled to open in Qatar. The Qatar National Convention Centre, located in Doha’s Education City, a hub for education, science and research, is scheduled to open in 2011 and will feature a 2,500-seat auditorium, a 500-seat theatre and a multi-purpose hall for conferences. In addition, 40,000 sq. m. of divisible exhibition space will be available to meet the demands of global conference and exhibition organizers.
The Doha Convention Center and Tower in the city center is scheduled to open in 2012, providing another first class exhibition venue for Qatar. The project’s tower will reach 102 floors and provide a new icon for Doha’s skyline. Adjacent to the Tower, the Convention Center will provide 45,000 sq. m. of showcase space.
The Qatar hospitality boom
Many of the world’s top luxury hotels are represented in Qatar. To meet forecasted demand, hotel capacity will increase 400% to over 29,000 luxury rooms and apartments by 2012. Every five- and four-star hotel in Qatar is equipped with world-class conference facilities to cater to every type of meeting or conference event. The hotels’ luxurious spas, resort amenities and variety of exceptional dining experiences, steeped in the Arabian tradition, offer a quiet and relaxing respite from the charged activities of the day.
A busy Qatar events calendar
There has never been a better time to visit Qatar. The calendar is packed with world-class cultural attractions, international sporting events and exciting activities for the whole family. Inspiring a new generation of filmmakers in the Gulf Region, the Tribeca Film Festival comes to Doha featuring a myriad of films, many written or directed by Middle Eastern filmmakers. The Waqif Art Center in the center of the authentic Souq Waqif plays host to many local and regional art exhibitions. The spacious Doha Exhibitions Center is the venue for many acclaimed regional and international trade fairs including the popular annual Jewelry and Watches Exhibition and the Doha Trade Fair. For sports enthusiasts, Qatar is host to more than 100 sports events including many world championship events such as the Sony/Ericcson WTA Championship and Qatar ExxonMobil Open Men’s Championship, the Commericalbank Qatar Masters Golf Tournament, the Moto GrandPrix and the Speed Boat Racing World Championship.