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Located halfway along the western coast of the
Arabian Gulf, the State of Qatar acts as a bridge between East and West
welcoming visitors from around the world. At the crossroads of economic,
cultural and natural heritage, the strategic location of the country has
attracted visitors to the region for thousands of years. Spend 48 hours in Qatar
and let the country's harmonious blend of Arabian culture with modern luxury and
innovation carry you away,
With sprawling dunes in the south, sandy coastlines and islets, reefs and salt flats, the small peninsular nation offers as much natural beauty as it does cultural richness. With its 560-km coastline, Qatar has always been a sea-dedicated community. From a center for fishing and pearling trades in the days gone by, Qatar's identity has been shaped by an age-old sea oriented civilization, hosting travelers as guests. Highlighting its authentic heritage and rich past, while instilling pride in its future, Qatar is a center of both tradition and innovation.
The discovery of oil in the 1940s and natural gas in the 1970s gave rise to Qatar's exponential economic growth since the days of fishing and pearling. Qatar's huge supply of natural gas is the world's third largest gas reserves and the largest non-associated gas field. After becoming the largest exporter of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) in the world in 2006, Qatar's exports now cover three continents with one-third of exports going to the US, one-third to Europe and one-third to Asia. Economic diversification in recent years in the fields of construction and real estate investment, tourism and leisure, education and research as well as ample government support to minimize the impact of a global economic slowdown have resulted in the stability of Qatar's economy.
Today Qatar is leading a surge in interest in the Arabian Gulf. Although conveniently accessible by air on most international carriers, including the national carrier, the 5-star Qatar Airways, the unique atmosphere of Qatar makes it feel as though you are truly off the beaten path.
Reputed for quality and excellence, Qatar is recognized as a leading destination in the Gulf region for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) offering travelers a business-oriented destination combined with leisure activities. Qatar is a quiet place, far from bustling mass tourism, with all facilities and business opportunities at your fingertips.
In addition to the existing and spacious Doha Exhibitions Center, two new conference centers totaling an additional area of 95,000 sq. m. of exhibition space are scheduled to open in Qatar. The Qatar National Convention Centre, located in Doha's Education City, a hub for education, science and research, is scheduled to open in 2011 and will feature a 2,500-seat auditorium, a 500-seat theatre and a multi-purpose hall for conferences. In addition, 40,000 sq. m. of divisible exhibition space will be available to meet the demands of global conference and exhibition organizers.
The Doha Convention Center and Tower in the city center is scheduled to open in 2012, providing another first class exhibition venue for Qatar. The project's tower will reach 102 floors and provide a new icon for Doha's skyline. Adjacent to the Tower, the Convention Center will provide 45,000 sq. m. of showcase space.
Many of the world's top luxury hotels are represented in Qatar. To meet forecasted demand, hotel capacity will increase 400% to over 29,000 luxury rooms and apartments by 2012. Every five- and four-star hotel in Qatar is equipped with world-class conference facilities to cater to every type of meeting or conference event. The hotels' luxurious spas, resort amenities and variety of exceptional dining experiences, steeped in the Arabian tradition, offer a quiet and relaxing respite from the charged activities of the day.
There has never been a better time to visit Qatar. The calendar is packed with world-class cultural attractions, international sporting events and exciting activities for the whole family. Inspiring a new generation of filmmakers in the Gulf Region, the Tribeca Film Festival comes to Doha featuring a myriad of films, many written or directed by Middle Eastern filmmakers. The Waqif Art Center in the center of the authentic Souq Waqif plays host to many local and regional art exhibitions. The spacious Doha Exhibitions Center is the venue for many acclaimed regional and international trade fairs including the popular annual Jewelry and Watches Exhibition and the Doha Trade Fair. For sports enthusiasts, Qatar is host to more than 100 sports events including many world championship events such as the Sony/Ericcson WTA Championship and Qatar ExxonMobil Open Men's Championship, the Commericalbank Qatar Masters Golf Tournament, the Moto GrandPrix and the Speed Boat Racing World Championship.
No trip to Qatar would be complete without experiencing the country's year-round attractions. The capital city of Doha is home to the I.M.Pei-designed Museum of Islamic Art, which boasts one of the largest and finest collections of pieces from one of the world's great civilizations. For those looking for a truly genuine Arabian experience, the vast deserts of Qatar promise adventure through camel back safaris, exhilarating rides along the dunes and wonderful nights beneath the stars. Shoppers can delightfully get lost in the authentically preserved Arabian souqs while discovering local treasures. Upscale shopping in the city's contemporary shopping malls, and along the piazza in the newly opened Pearl-Qatar development, offer a wide range of well-known luxury brands and goods in a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere. The sprawling
ASPIRE Zone, the main venue for the 15th Asian Games in 2006, is an impressive multi-purpose facility offering both local and international visitors access to world-class sports facilities and activities, high-end retail shopping and luxurious green parks for relaxation and for family enjoyment.
Aside from the myriad of attractions and activities, Qatar has developed a solid infrastructure for progress and innovation, becoming known not only as a destination for travelers, but also as a center for business, education and research. Qatar is home to Education City, an impressive undertaking which hosts six world-class universities, all branch campuses of prestigious international institutions. The Qatar Science and Technology Park is a local home for technology-based companies from around the world and an incubator for start-ups enterprises. Known as the founder of free speech in the Middle East, Qatar is home to Al Jazeera, the first independent Arabic news channel in the world which also has a 24/7 English news channel.
Although the State of Qatar is emerging as a global leader in industry and tourism, the country is still a work in progress and is continually looking to the future as it expands upon its heritage. Dohaland, a subsidiary of the Qatar Foundation, has launched the 'Heart of Doha' real estate development project aimed at reviving the Qatari, Arab and Islamic architecture and strengthen the Islamic cultural renaissance that Qatar is currently leading. Qatar's largest single real estate development, Lusail, is currently underway. When completed, Lusail will cover over 35 sq. km. of area and will accommodate up to 200,000 people. In the next few years the New Doha International Airport will open to welcome the estimated 50 million passengers a year who will use this world-class once completed. Always planning for the future, The State of Qatar has dedicated massive financial resources and energy to progressive and innovative development ideas and tools.
Whatever your interests, Qatar has something for everyone: from business travelers looking for a break between meetings and backpackers eager for unique desert adventures to families hoping to relax on a luxurious beach.
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