Qatar unveils a summer of wonders
The newly formed Qatar General Tourism Authority (QGTA) has unveiled plans for its first country-wide summer tourism promotion named Qatar Summer Wonders.The month-long event, from July 15 to August 15, will centre around three leading malls Ñ City Centre, The Mall and Landmark Mall. "Visitors and Qatar residents alike will find these malls, and the streets of Doha, humming with fun, entertainment, heritage displays, food promotions, sporting events, movies and shopping discounts," said QGTA chairman Shaikh Sultan bin Jassem Al Thani. "The focus is very much on fun and entertainment," said Shaikh Sultan. "The malls of Doha will be alive with acrobats and street artists, a cultural music and folk dance festival and a host of sporting events including snow skiing in City Centre's prestigious Extreme World." Among mainline Summer Wonder events are a classic car show, a photography exhibition and an entertainment/sports arena. Sports events scheduled include a BMX rally, skate-boarding, weightlifting, billiards and snooker tournaments. Shaikh Sultan said the Summer Wonders initiative followed a series of interactive discussions with representatives of Qatar's burgeoning tourism industry. "This is the first step in an ongoing campaign aimed at promoting Qatar as a single-added value package," said Shaikh Sultan. "Our regular industry workshops encompassing all decision-makers involved in the sector from hoteliers to mall operators, are vital for direct communication, the exchange of ideas and the creation of a One Vision Team." The QGTA chairman said his authority acknowledged Qatar has a challenging task ahead in establishing the Gulf state as a family leisure and business travel destination. "There is no doubt that there is a tremendous amount of work ahead of us but we are confident we can bring good ideas to life," said David Tewelde, general manager of QGTA. "Among its many tasks, the authority will concentrate on organising festivals, attractions and events to also encourage the local population, both Qatari and expatriate, to spend more time and money within the country." "This is a very important and strategically correct time to launch Qatar's tourism industry on a wider scale. We believe the key to success will be making Qatar a more international exciting destination for families and business travellers. This is especially important as other countries in the region are also aggressively chasing tourist dollars. The good news is that Qatar, which is fairly new to the tourism industry, has little to lose but much to gain and huge desire and political will to develop this sector. "This summer a lot of local families will opt for destination breaks closer to home. Our job is to encourage them to spend the summer at home and invite family friends to join them in Qatar and, of course, to have lots of fun."