June 23, 2024


World Trip Is Really Fun

British vacation bookings to Egypt skyrocket

British vacation bookings to Egypt skyrocket

DUBAI: After 12 years of preparation to host prestigious FIFA World Cup final yr — 12 years that remodeled the tiny-gas wealthy Gulf nation of Qatar — the nation is specializing in sustaining its momentum and boosting its tourism and cultural industries. 

“The World Cup, to us, was a bonus on prime of what we have been already doing within the cultural realm,” Sheikha Reem Al-Thani, performing deputy CEO of exhibitions and advertising for Qatar Museums, tells Arab Information. 

A lot of Qatar’s tourism and cultural growth, says Al-Thani, is a part of the Qatar Nationwide Imaginative and prescient 2030 technique, which was formalized in July 2008, the identical yr the Museum of Islamic Artwork, designed by the famend Chinese language-American architect I.M. Pei, opened in Doha.  

British vacation bookings to Egypt skyrocket
Jeff Koons’ ‘Dugong’ in Doha’s Al-Masrah Park. (Getty Pictures)

The World Cup crowds might have left, however a large number of initiatives are ongoing, signaling additional development on the horizon. All through Doha and in close by desert landscapes sit dozens of specifically commissioned public artwork installations, 30 % of which have been commissioned within the yr main as much as the World Cup. Works by Qatari artists together with Shouq Al-Mana, Ghada Al-Kater, Mubarak Al-Malik and Salman Al-Malek sit alongside creations of acclaimed worldwide names corresponding to Jeff Koons, whose “Dugong” — a large site-specific polychromed mirror-polished stainless-steel sculpture of the marine mammal that symbolizes Qatar’s pure heritage — is stationed close to the Corniche. Richard Serra’s “East West/West East” stands within the Qatari desert, as does KAWS’ “The Promise,” depicting a dad or mum and a toddler considering a globe — stressing the necessity to defend the atmosphere.  

“The general public artwork emphasizes our identification whereas additionally giving context to all the pieces that’s going down in Qatar,” says Al-Thani. “For instance, earlier than Richard Serra’s paintings, individuals didn’t have a lot of a motive to go to that space within the desert. Now they go and are inspired to discover the native panorama.” 

In line with the Qatar Information Company, the general attendance in any respect the World Cup matches mixed was 3.4 million. And guests are nonetheless flocking to Qatar. In January 2023, the nation registered 3,559,063 individuals arriving on flights, in accordance with air transport statistics launched by Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority, which marked a 64.4 % improve from the identical interval in 2022.  

Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Artwork. (Equipped)

The nation has set a number of formidable targets. By 2030, it goals to draw six million guests a yr and improve the contribution of the tourism sector to its GDP from 7 % to 12 %. To that finish, the nation is investing billions into tradition, artwork, expertise and tourism. In February this yr, Doha was acknowledged because the Arab Tourism Capital 2023 by the Arab Tourism Group. 

Qatar Creates, a government-backed, year-round cultural motion conceptualized on the opening of the Nationwide Museum of Qatar in 2019 has advanced into an extravaganza combining museum exhibitions, movie, trend, hospitality, cultural heritage, performing arts and private-sector initiatives.  

Earlier this month, Qatar Creates Week offered a bunch of exhibition openings and occasions, together with the Tasweer Picture Pageant Qatar — the second biennial program of exhibitions, awards, commissions and collaborations that goals “to diversify practices and dialogues of photographers from Qatar and the Western Asia and North African areas,” “Beirut and the Golden Sixties,” a present on the Mathaf Arab Museum of Trendy Artwork, and Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson’s “The Curious Desert” on the NMOQ, bringing collectively a dozen new site-specific installations positioned within the desert close to the Al-Thakhira Mangrove in Northern Qatar in addition to an intensive gallery presentation.  

Contained in the Nationwide Museum of Qatar. (Danica O Kus)

Different highlights embody the Doha Movie Institute’s Qumra, an initiative providing mentorship and different alternatives for filmmakers in Qatar and world wide. 

Elsewhere, “Lusail Museum: Tales of a Linked World” at Qatar Museums’ Gallery Al-Riwaq in Doha launched the brand new museum, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, presently underneath growth in Lusail, Qatar’s second-largest metropolis. It will likely be devoted to Orientalist artwork, archaeological artifacts, and media from prehistoric instances to the twenty first century.  

The Lusail Museum is considered one of three new museums that Qatari world artwork patron Sheikha Al-Mayassa Al-Thani introduced in March to broaden the nation’s cultural choices. The others are the Qatar Auto Museum and the Artwork Mill on Doha’s waterfront promenade, which is because of open in 2030 and that can remodel a former industrial flour mill on the Doha Corniche, forming a triangle with the already present Jean Nouvel-designed NMOQ and the Museum of Islamic Artwork. Designed by Chilean studio ELEMENTAL, Artwork Mill goals to be, in accordance with its web site, “a pioneering establishment within the non-Western world representing the fashionable and up to date arts of all areas of the globe on an equal foundation.”  

Whereas a bonanza of cultural occasions continues in Qatar, what officers stress is how the cultural scene has grown in tandem with, and even previous to, the nation profitable the correct to host the World Cup. The Mathaf Artwork Museum of Trendy Artwork opened in Doha in 2010 — the identical yr the nation gained the bid and two years after the opening of the Museum of Islamic Artwork. Since then, significantly underneath the patronage of Sheikha Al-Mayassa, Qatar has injected billions of {dollars} into tradition and tourism. Its purpose shouldn’t be solely to construct a sturdy artwork scene and strengthen its nationwide identification, but in addition to diversify its economic system to scale back dependency on petroleum and pure gasoline.  

Urs Fischer’s ‘Lamp Bear’ at Hamad Worldwide Airport. (Equipped)

Even throughout the 5 years of blockade, from 2017 to 2021, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt severed diplomatic relations with Qatar, the nation continued to develop its cultural and tourism sector.  

“The World Cup positively gave us a drive to maneuver quicker,” says Al-Thani. 

“Nonetheless, for us it has at all times been about sustaining and creating our cultural and inventive economic system, educating individuals and actually ensuring that what we’re doing is (achieved) in a really considerate and homegrown method.” 

In the course of the World Cup, she provides, 80 % of exhibitions staged have been conceived by Qatar Museums via its collections.  

“Little or no got here from the surface,” she says. “We needed to focus primarily on the MENASA.”  

In February this yr Qatar’s $450 billion sovereign wealth fund said that it was seeking to rebalance its portfolio and contemplating investments in soccer, finance and expertise. 

“The World Cup provided us an amazing consciousness enhance, exposing Qatar to many (new) individuals,” Qatari businessman Tariq Al-Jaidah tells Arab Information. “The occasion gave us monumental publicity on a worldwide degree. We’re already feeling its affect, particularly with the rise in regional vacationers which can be coming.” 

The Peninsula Qatar reported in February that 58 cruise ships carrying round 200,000 guests are anticipated to reach in Qatar by the tip of April. The brand new Grand Cruise Terminal opened in November 2022, and is ideally positioned for vacationers inside strolling distance of the Nationwide Museum of Qatar, Msheireb Downtown and Souq Waqif — all of that are embellished with works of public artwork — amongst others. 

“The World Cup, new inns and present and upcoming museums have all served to assist Qatar mature as a vacationer vacation spot on the cultural entrance,” added Al-Jaidah. 

The nation seems to be nicely set to capitalize on that publicity and translate it right into a cultural and financial growth.