Qatar Summer Festival spirit beats siege gloom

Despite the unjust siege imposed on Qatar, the fourth and longest edition of Qatar Summer Festival (QSF) has ended on a high note with thousands of visitors witnessed at various festival locations across the country.

The Entertainment City alone, which is the festival’s centerpiece, attracted 145,000 visitors to its activities held at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC) throughout the festival, said QSF organisers Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA).

Diverse shows and activities organised in other locations including malls, Katara, Souq Waqif, Souq Al Wakrah, Aspire Park and Aqua Park also saw thousands of citizens, residents and tourists taking advantage of their various offerings.

This year’s summer festival started on June 25, just 20 days after the siege. It is the longest edition yet stretching for nearly 11 weeks kicking off on Eid Al Fitr and culminating during the Eid Al Adha holidays.

Malls which took part in the festival saw increased footfalls especially during the Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha holidays when a diverse lineup of shows and activities were organised. Retail outlets in the participating malls witnessed rise in sales with their promotions including up to 50 percent discounts and the Mega Raffle in which over 305,000 vouchers were entered representing over QR61m in retail spend.

One of the main features of the festival, the shop and win promotion saw the participation of 145 retail outlets at seven malls including Doha Festival City, Mall of Qatar, Al Khor Mall, Lagoona Mall, Gulf Mall, Landmark Mall and The Mall.

The festival also backed the country’s hospitality sector incorporating hotel and spa offers as one of its features. Hotels agree the festival, along with the country’s improved visa policies, helped bolster the industry during the typically off-peak summer season.

“Every festival or event helps as it pushes our business. The Summer Festival increases our occupancy during weekdays by 20 percent, which we consider good during this time. This Summer Festival improved occupancy rates and with the new visa rules, we are confident that guests will spend more time in Qatar,” Saeid Heidari, General Manager at Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel.

Hotel occupancy rate increased by six percent from 53 percent in July last year to 59 percent in July this year, according to the 43rd edition of “Qatar: Monthly Statistics” released by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics.

After more than two months of exciting nationwide celebrations, the festival came to a close with an exciting show at Mall of Qatar on Tuesday highlighted by the raffle which gave away QR300,000 cash prize and a luxury car. The conclusion of QSF, marks the end of a series of vibrant festivals held this year. Organised by QTA and delivered by private sector partners, they are designed to energise the country’s retail and hospitality sectors and boost tourism’s contribution to the national economy.

They include the first edition of the month-long Shop Qatar held in the beginning of the year followed closely by the 11-day Qatar International Food Festival in April.

“We are very pleased to have our longest ever edition of QSF mark the end of a year of successful nation-wide events in 2017,” said Saif Al Kuwari, Director of PR and Communication at QTA.

He added: “Creating such a vibrant calendar of annual events would not have been possible without the innovative and collaborative efforts of our partners in the private and public sector. This year, we have been particularly keen to engage and involve local business and entrepreneurs in QTA’s festivals and will continue to seek their input as we work to develop the sector and host even more tourism events.”

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