Qatar is only now opening up as a tourist destination to the world. Up until recently the emirate was known for its wealth, an impressive GDP per capita, and an average monthly salary of US$11,473.
My colleagues were in its capital city last month and their first description of Doha was that it is “developing”. What they saw was a city that has its infrastructure in place, but is readying itself for the anticipated surge in tourism. This would likely kickstart with FIFA World Cup 2022, which will be hosted at Al-Khor, an hour’s drive from Hamad International Airport.
Last year, 14 hospitality properties launched in the country, and room numbers are expected to reach 46,000 by 2022. Each hospitality brand has strong F&B offerings, some of which you will read on page 52. Be sure to find everything from Brazilian to, French, Indian and authentic Arabic cuisine at these eateries. The vibe is anything but subdued and the restaurants’ house bars are equipped with some of the best brands from world over. The standalone lounge bars at these properties have an even more upbeat persona — be sure to dress to impress.
While Qatar’s glitz quotient is rising with each new hotel launch, it hasn’t forgotten its culture. Qatari heritage is well preserved in beautiful edifices that boast of creative architecture. Read about the ones in Doha on page 48.
It’s not just Doha that hogs up the limelight (even though that’s what we’ve primarily covered in the “Inside Qatar”section). On page 54 there is more about other Qatari cities to explore, ones that locals flock to for a luxurious weekend getaway.
Researching this emirate, one of the wealthiest in the world, has surprised me with knowledge on how Qataris believe in a princely way of life. Sure enough Qatar is on its way to becoming the next glamorous emirate after Dubai — and not just Doha but its surrounding cities too.
Neha Gupta Kapoor Editor