Qatar’s tourism and retail sectors are strong despite blockade by the Saudi-led bloc. The tourism sector has managed to attract visitors which in turn led to rise in shopping.
The second edition of Shop Qatar was launched recently, which is the biggest shopping festival in the country, to provide a diverse range of month-long entertainment and retail offerings.
Speaking to reporters at a press briefing yesterday, QTA’s festivals and tourism events director Mashal Shahbik said the initial weeks of Shop Qatar saw a huge number of families and individuals coming to the festival locations.
“People continue to shop and they enjoy shopping in Doha – a good city to come to,” she stressed, adding that regional and international visitors could be seen roaming around the malls and other destinations across Qatar.
As residents have become aware of the value of QTA- or non-QTA-organised events and festivals, Shahbik said everyone in Doha now acts as an ambassador promoting the destination.
She highlighted the increase in number of tourists from the cruise industry who visit popular and heritage places such as Souq Waqif, Katara – the Cultural Village and the Museum of Islamic Art.
QTA is expected to provide the latest figures on tourist arrivals from other countries and its target markets soon, she said.
“We are thankful for the blockade that happened because now people feel that they are responsible for spreading (the news) on how safe and beautiful the destination is,” she pointed out.
The tourism sector was boosted after the government approved visa-free entry to the citizens of 80 countries.
Shahbik said the staging of Shop Qatar’s Arabian, Bollywood and International themes not only helped produce a good event but also gave QTA an opportunity to market and promote the destination.
“What we are trying to do is not only having events in Qatar but having the legacy elsewhere in the markets that we want to target,” she said.
“This is something that we will keep doing in every festival, we will be focusing on how the activities related to the festival can be seen clearly, we don’t want to copy activities in every festival,” Shahbik added. “We want each event to have its own identity.”