Hedonism and heritage in the heart of Arabia

The Maiden II.

Qatar Tourism Authority unveiled an innovative new global image at WTM, introducing a new logo and elaborating on a four-year, $64 million sponsorship deal with award-winning British yachtswoman Tracy Edwards.

The Qatar Tourism Authority’s recently-appointed chief executive (former MyTravel boss) Fred van Eijk presented plans to position the country as a “hot destination for 2004”. Van Eijk believes the combination of climate, culture and cutting edge experience with living heritage will make Qatar a “must visit” destination of the future by offering a “real Arabian experience”.

The sponsorship deal, to be known as Maiden Ocean Racing Qatar, is already making waves for its scope. The four-year programme is expected to set new standards for the Formula One of sailing - the Maxi multihull class of yacht and will include the biggest ever prize money for global racers -  $1m.

Edwards and her team have created two of the most prestigious international sailing events the world has seen. The Oryx Cup and Qatar Sports Global Challenge are designed to advance global ocean racing to include new destinations, and attract new audiences.

Doo Gurney, managing director of Tribe Management, who first introduced Edwards to Qatar in March this year, said: “Qatar is the ideal gateway to the Middle East.