Qatar witnesses tourism boom as cruise sector runs at full throttle

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19 Feb 2019 – 8:52

Qatar witnesses tourism boom as cruise sector runs at full throttle

Cruise Ships Mein Schiff 4 and MSC Splendida, carrying 8,300 visitors, at Doha Port recently.

By Sachin Kumar | The Peninsula

Doha: Cruise tourism in Qatar is steaming ahead at full speed in 2019. It is nearly one-and-half month in the new year, but thousands of tourists in several cruise ships have stepped in to Qatari shores.

Since the beginning of this year, over 41,000 tourists in cruise ships came to Qatar from  Doha Port and Hamad Port. The strong inflow of tourists signals the ongoing cruise season is expected to be the busiest season so far with a record number of tourists coming to Qatar.

It is worth mentioning that the 2018-2019 cruise season began from October last year and will continue until April 2019.

This season is set to be the busiest one since the development of the cruise tourism sector in Qatar as more than 140,000 visitors in 43 cruise ships are expected to dock at Doha Port during this season. Qatar had welcomed 22 cruise ships with 65,000 passengers in the 2017-2018 cruise season.

On February 16, MSC Lirica anchored in  Doha Port on its 6th trip during the ongoing 2018- 2019 cruise season, carrying a total of 1995 passengers and 742 crew members.

On February 14, Doha Port welcomed two ships, Mein Schiff 4 and MSC Splendida, carrying 8,300 visitors. It was the fourth time that the port had received two ships at the same time.

A day before that, on February 13, German cruise ship AIDAPrima docked at Doha Port on its third voyage in the ongoing cruise season with a total of 3,618 passengers and 957 crew members aboard.

Italian cruise ship Costa Mediterranea, on February 6, marked its maiden voyage to Qatar, arriving at Doha Port with more than 3,000 passengers and crew members.

January was also a busy month as several cruise ships and one of the main highlights was the maiden voyage of luxury cruise ship ‘RMS Queen Mary 2 at Hamad Port.

Measuring at 345 meters long, RMS Queen Mary 2 was the largest cruise ship to arrive at Qatar’s shores. The luxury cruise ship arrived at Hamad Port carrying more than 3,700 passengers and crew and was welcomed by officials from the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) and Mwani Qatar.

Doha Port, on January 24, welcomed cruise ship MSC Splendida on its third visit during the ongoing season, carrying a total of 3456 passengers and 1305 crew members.

On January 20, Cruise ship MSC Lirica sailed into Doha Port on its 5th trip during the ongoing season, carrying a total of 1985 passengers and 737 crew members. On January 16, Cruise ship Mein Schiff 4 docked at Doha Port on its 6th visit to during the season with a total of 2459 passengers and 949 crew members.

Around 3,000 tourists arrived at Doha Port on January 14 aboard the cruise ship MSC Lirica. MSC Splendida anchored on January 3 at Doha Port on its 2nd call during the ongoing season with 3900 passengers and 1300 crew member aboard.

Over 3600 cruise visitors were welcomed on January 2 at Doha Port, coming on board the TUI Mein Schiff 4 on its 5th call during the ongoing season.

QNTC and its partners have taken series of steps to grow the cruise tourism sector in Qatar and encourage more cruise liners to place Qatar on their itineraries.

QFC to promote Qatar as hub of key sectors

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18 Feb 2019 – 0:30

QFC to promote Qatar as hub of key sectors

Yousuf Mohamed Al Jaida, (right) Cheif Executive officer of QFC Authority, during the panel discussion held on the sidelines of the unveiling of QFC strategic plan 2022 at Four Seasons Hotel, yesterday. FROM LEFT: Kamahl Santamaria (moderator), Faisal ibrahim Al Malki, Director, Project Manager, Msheireb Properties; Ibrahim Mohammed Hassan, Executive Director of Investment, QDB; and Ali Al Mutawaa, Chief of Enterprise and Development Officer, Aspire Zone foundation. Pic: Abdul Basit / the Peninsula

By Satish Kanady I The Peninsula

Yousuf Mohamed Al Jaida, Chief Executive Officer of QFC Authority, has said the QFC’s new strategic plans will promote Qatar as a natural hub for innovative digital, media, sports, and financial services, providing a solid basis for foreign direct investments in those growing fields. The QFC’s strategy includes an emphasis on new emerging markets that are collectively worth over $$2.1 trillion, with Qatar and the QFC well positioned to serve as a gateway to these lucrative and fast-growing economies.

Al-Jaida yesterday discussed QFC’s new strategic plans at length during a high-level panel with key national stakeholders with whom the QFC is closely collaborating to achieve its ambitious goals and realise its strategy.

Panelists included Ali Al-Mutawaa, Chief of Enterprise and Development Officer, Aspire Zone Foundation; Ibrahim Mohammed Hassan, Executive Director of Investment, Qatar Development Bank; and Faisal Ibrahim AlMalki, Director of Projects Management, Msheireb Properties.

One of the QFC’s partnership goals is to establish a new financial city in Msheireb Downtown Doha, one of the world’s smartest and most sustainable cities. Msheireb Downtown Doha is a mixed-use development spanning 310,000 square meters with the entire project targeting LEED Gold and Platinum ratings. The QFC’s planned move to the world-class development will further cement Qatar’s position as a leading international financial and business hub.

Al Jaida said that QFC’s focus on the digital, media sports and financial service industries is aligned with Qatar’s existing positioning in those fields. In the sports industry alone, Qatar has already established world-class infrastructure thanks to robust investments, and has leveraged this by hosting international sporting events, which are set to bring even more economic impetus, with the sports industry estimated to be valued at $20bn by 2023.

Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority said: “By building on existing developed industries with impressive growth potential, the new strategy will promote Qatar as a natural hub or innovative digital, media, sports, and financial services thus providing a solid basis for foreign direct investments in those growing fields. In addition, the QFC’s strategy includes an emphasis on new emerging markets that are collectively worth over USD $2.1 trillion, with Qatar and the QFC well positioned to serve as a gateway to these lucrative and fast-growing economies.”

Al-Jaida added: “We are confident that the QFC’s unique platform is well-equipped to provide the necessary framework to attract foreign investors to Qatar, and in the process continue to support the growth and diversification of the economy.”

Ali Al-Mutawaa, Chief of Enterprise and Development Officer, Aspire Zone Foundation said: “Investing in the sports sector is one of the pillars of our strategy at Aspire Zone Foundation. The QFC’s focus on sports and other important sectors underscores the growth potential of these industries in Qatar and internationally. By partnering with the QFC, we can ensure our continued cooperation in driving investments in the sports sector, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030, which will continue to achieve significant growth beyond the 2022 FIFA World Cup. “

Faisal Ibrahim AlMalki, Director of Projects Management, Msheireb Properties, said: “Today’s event demonstrates the commitment of QFC in engaging with all the stakeholders; one thing which will be even easier and achievable when they are all running their operations from within Msheireb Downtown Doha soon. Our project is the new civic hub in the country and the destination for business, living, and leisure. The move of QFC and its operations back to the center of Doha reflects the confidence they have in our infrastructure and is foretelling of the enhanced quality and integrated services to be offered to the public.”

 

Property owners and developers invited to supply residential units for Qatar 2022

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13 Feb 2019 – 17:16

Property owners and developers invited to supply residential units for Qatar 2022

Residential buildings in Doha: Pic: SC

The Peninsula

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) is inviting property owners and developers to submit expressions of interest in providing residential accommodation during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Property owners interested in leasing their units for a period of either six, 12 or 18 months must apply via the SC’s website. The closing date for applications is Thursday, March 7. The rent offered to owners will be based on the size, standard and location of the units.

Owners will be expected to provide a turnkey solution for their properties, which must be fully furnished and adhere to a minimum service level agreement. Property owners will also be required to provide a shuttle bus if their units are more than 1km from public transport nodes.

Fatima Fakhro, the SC’s Vice Chairman, Host Country Operation Affairs, said: “We are keen to utilise the existing housing stock in Qatar to support our accommodation requirements for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. We believe this is a sustainable solution which ensures excess hotel rooms won’t go to waste after the tournament.”

Fakhro added: “There will be a range of accommodation options in 2022, including fan villages, cruise ships and traditional hotels. Adding serviced apartments from our existing stock of residential accommodation will help us to cater for all budgets, both in the lead-up to and during the tournament.”

Applicants must have accommodation in either a villa compound, apartment tower or mixed-use development. Under-construction properties will be considered, but these properties must be completed by the end of 2021.

 

Halal Festival highlights traditional handicrafts in Qatar

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09 Feb 2019 – 9:48

Halal Festival highlights traditional handicrafts in Qatar
The Peninsula

Doha: The organising committee of the Halal festival has dedicated a traditional tent for handicrafts related to raising sheep and goats. The 8th edition of the festival is held at the southern area in the Cultural Village Foundation – Katara, and it is within Katara’s commitment to preserve and support the national heritage and norms. In the tent, the festival’s visitors can learn about various traditional handcrafts in Qatar.

The festival includes pavilions and stalls at the festival area. It aims to educate the young generations on their national heritage of all its kinds.

The festival this year has a new contest for the youngsters “The little shepherd” in which contestant between 10-14 years old are competing through different activities of a real shepherd and are tested in their knowledge about breeding and raising sheep. Besides, the festival hosts other auxiliary activities of the traditional life in Qatar such as the traditional handicrafts and stalls selling traditional Qatari foods, in addition to many other activities and entertainment for the children.

Where to watch Qatar vs Japan AFC final?

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31 Jan 2019 – 22:21

Where to watch Qatar vs Japan AFC final?

People watching the semi-final at Katara. Pic: Abdul Basit

Doha: Tomorrow (Friday) Qatar will take on Japan in the Asian Cup 2019 final at 5pm. It has been an impressive march by the Al Annabi (Maroons as the team is known) towards the final. They have not conceded any goal till now and convincingly beat Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Lebanon and UAE.

The match will kick off at 5pm and all fans have multiple options to watch the match. So get your sports attire on and get ready to cheer the team at one of these outdoor screening places around Qatar.

Here is a list of nine places we know of. There could be more. But here is something you can start with…

Katara Esplanade

Aspire Park, Behind Lake

Sheraton Park

Airport Park, next to Qatar Airways headquarters

Pearl Qatar, The Amphitheatre

Souq Waqif, Western Arena

Mall of Qatar, Oasis

Msheireb Downtown Doha

Torba Market (Ceremonial Court, Education city)

These big screens would provide a stadium kind of atmosphere to watch the match with other fans. So plan your evening accordingly and try to reach early.

And just in case you don’t feel like stepping out, beIn is broadcasting it for free on their free to air channel.

But we would recommend heading to one of those big screens with friends and family and cheer your lungs out for a big win for Al Annabi. And it is a Friday, so no excuse.

Qatar and Japan’s journey to the final

Source : The Peninsula Qatar

Exit from Service Road to 22 February Street closed

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29 Jan 2019 – 9:25

Exit from Service Road to 22 February Street closed

Doha: The Public Works Authority ‘Ashghal’ has announced the implementation of a permanent closure for an exit in each direction from the service road to 22 February Street.

The closure of the exit on the direction from Al Rayyan Interchange to Al Gharrafa Interchange will be effective from January 30, 2019, while the exit on the other direction will be closed effective from February 2, 2019, in coordination with the General Directorate of Traffic.

Drivers who want to exit to 22 February Street from the service road in the direction from Al Rayyan Interchange towards Al Gharrafa Interchange can continue driving around 1km to reach the newly constructed exit. As for those traveling from the opposite direction, they will have to exit to 22 February Street using the exit located after Al Rayyan Interchange. These two permanent closures aim to improve traffic movement on 22 February Street by widening it at the area between Al Rayyan and Al Gharrafa Interchanges.

The closure comes as part of Phase 1 of Ashghal project aiming to convert Immigration R/A to an intersection and to develop parts of service roads on 22 February Road, in order to improve traffic movement and increase the intersection’s capacity. This phase also includes the development of the storm water drainage system, protection of existing utilities, as well as the addition of new lighting poles at the new intersection.

The Public Works Authority will install road signs advising motorists of the closure. Ashghal has requested all road users to abide by the speed limit, and follow the road signs to ensure their safety.

Pompeo applauds Qatar’s assistance while on Mideast tour

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13 Jan 2019 – 13:54

Pompeo applauds Qatar's assistance while on Mideast tour

The Deputy Prime Minister and Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo , at the Sheraton Grand in Doha on January 13, 2019.
(AFP / POOL / ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS)

AP

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Qatar. He arrived on Sunday and signed several agreements with Qatari officials.

America’s top diplomat thanked Qatar for hosting US forces at Al-Udeid Air Base, home to the US military’s Central Command forward headquarters.

Pompeo described the two countries’ relationship as “extensive, important and growing.”

Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs H E Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani also said his country’s relationship with America “has enabled us to confront so many regional and international challenges.”

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, all U.S. allies, began a blockade of Qatar in June 2017 that continues today.

Pompeo will travel to Saudi Arabia after his daylong stay in Doha.

Source : The Peninsula Qatar