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Baba Tamim

2016 Al Khor Fly-In

There’s no room for boredom this weekend, as lots of events are planned around town, including free film screenings, a concert, an Alice in Wonderland show and dozens of planes on display at the annual Al Khor Fly-In.

Here are our picks:

Al Khor Fly-In

Formation flying, aerobatic and parameter shows, along with gyrocopter and light aircraft shows are among the upcoming highlights of the tenth annual Al Khor Fly-In.

The event will be held on Feb. 10 and 11, from 8am until 5pm at the Al Khor Air Field. The venue is located 31km north of Doha on the east side of the Al Khor Coastal Road.

Baba Tamim

2016 Al Khor Fly-In

The free public event, which is being organized by the Civil Aviation Authority and Qatar Flying Club, will also feature children’s entertainment, heritage activities and food outlets.

For more information, call 4457 1491.

German film week

As part of the sixth annual year of culture in Qatar, the Doha Film Institute (DFI) is currently screening what it called a “compelling showcase” of German films by master filmmakers.

The last three screenings will take place over the next three days (Wednesday to Friday) at the Museum of Islamic Art auditorium.

These include Fitzcarraldo (1982) by Werner Herzog, The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) by Lotte Reiniger and Carl Koch, and Hördur –Zwischen den Welten (2015) by Ekrem Ergün.

Doha Film Institute

Fitzcarraldo

Tonight and tomorrow’s screenings will begin at 8pm, while Friday’s screening will begin at 5pm.

All screenings are free and tickets can be reserved online, or in person at the DFI Box Office at the MIA.

Alice in Wonderland show

Head over to Katara’s souq-themed recreational area Magical Festival Village for an Alice in Wonderland show this weekend from tonight through Friday, Feb. 10.

Qatar Tourism Authority

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The show will take place at the festival’s Teatro, located on Katara’s beachfront.

Shows will be held from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Organizers have said that the show will feature a virtual 3D display, but no special glasses will be needed.

Ticket prices range between QR100 and QR350 per person, and can be purchased here.

Leningrad Symphony

The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) will hold a concert on Saturday at the Katara Opera House.

This weekend’s symphony will be the Leningrad Symphony No. 7 in C Major, Op. 60, which was popularized in both the Soviet Union and the West.

Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra

Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra/Facebook

Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra

The piece became a symbol of resistance to Nazi totalitarianism and was also considered to be a major musical testament to the estimated 25 million Soviet citizens who died in World War II.

The concert begins at 7:30pm, although seating takes place 20 minutes earlier. Children below the age of six will not be allowed in the opera house.

Ticket price range between QR75 and QR200 per person, and can be purchased here.

QatArt market

Qatar’s handmade community will once again showcase their creations at the QatArt pop up bazaar on Friday, Feb. 10.

QatArt Market

QatART market

The bazaar features products of all sorts, including paintings, home decor, assorted jewelry, trinkets, cushions, frames, quilts, soaps, dolls, baby clothes and greeting cards, among others.

The event is free and open to all and will take place at the Katara Art Studio in Building 19 from 3pm to 8pm.

Bonus:

  • Free medical care: The Pakistan Professionals Forum Qatar is hosting a free medical camp on Friday, Feb. 10 from 8am to 3pm at Gate 3 of Labor City, opposite Grand Mall, in the Industrial Area. The clinic will include ENT, optical, dental, gynecological, pediatric and emergency treatments. More information can be found by calling 66205366 or 55810621.

What are your plans for the weekend? Thoughts?

QTA

The MSC Fantasia

More than 3,000 tourists are expected to visit Qatar today after two cruise ships dock at Doha Port.

This is the first time officials will welcome two vessels simultaneously. They are the MSC Fantasia and the Crystal Esprit.

Authorities did not say when the ships would dock, but according to CruiseMapper, the MSC Fantasia will be in Doha from 8am to 6pm, before moving onto Bahrain.

Frederik/Red Horn Photography

The Museum of Islamic Art is a popular tourist attraction

Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) officials said the occasion gives the country a chance to show how well-prepared it is to handle large groups of tourists.

In a statement, Hassan Al Ibrahim, QTA’s Chief Tourism Development Officer, said:

“This is one of many firsts that the cruise industry in Qatar is witnessing this season, thanks to it being the largest one to date and the first in which Qatar will receive as many as 50,000 cruise visitors.

Expect crowds

The MSC Fantasia is the largest passenger ship ever to sail into Qatar, and made its maiden voyage here earlier this month.

Hundreds of the ship’s 3,000 passenger and 1,300 crew members could be seen hanging out on the Corniche, visiting the Museum of Islamic Art and checking out Souq Waqif during that visit.

The vessel is scheduled to return to Qatar four more times this cruise season.

The 100m long Crystal Esprit, a 62-passenger luxury yacht, also made its maiden call to Qatar earlier this month.

Thoughts?

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Osarieme Eweka/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Officials in Qatar are planning to launch a new shopping festival next year as part of plans to woo more visitors to the country with a spot of retail therapy.

The Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) announced plans for the new event this week, but gave no details about when it would take place or what it would entail.

Speaking to Doha News, QTA said a full announcement will be made next month.

City Center entertainment

QTA

City Center entertainment

It added that the event is part of a strategy “to grow and diversify Qatar’s tourism offering, particularly in the area of family and urban entertainment.”

Shopping focus

The focus on shopping is because visitors who come to Qatar spend more on this than on hotel stays or eating out, QTA said.

In 2014, visitors racked up a shopping bill of some QR6 billion.

The festival will likely boost footfall in some of the new commercial centers that are scheduled to open in the coming months.

That includes Mall of Qatar on Dec. 10 and Doha Festival City in February.

It may take inspiration from Dubai, which has held a successful month-long shopping festival from the end of December until late January for years.

Every year, the event brings in around 4.5 million visitors who spend some Dh15 billion in the Emirate.

More visitors

Tourism figures took a dip in Qatar this year, with figures for the first six months down 6 percent compared to the same period in 2015.

But in addition to the shopping fest, QTA is hoping to boost visitor numbers with some of its existing events next year. This includes the food festival in March and its annual summer festival.

2016 Qatar International Food Festival

Brian Candy / Doha News

2016 Qatar International Food Festival

These events are already popular with visitors from neighboring Gulf states, who travel to Qatar for short trips.

Other strategies include putting Doha on the Gulf cruise ship destination list. This season, around 30 ships will dock at the port by the Museum of Islamic Art.

And earlier this month, a four-day free transit visa was launched.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Jiseon Shin/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

This enables travelers passing through Hamad International Airport on Qatar Airways to stay in the country for up to 96 hours.

However, visas are granted based on the sole discretion of the Ministry of Interior, and must be applied for at least seven days in advance, Qatar Airways said in a statement at the time.

Meanwhile, plans are also afoot to grant visitors from the populous countries of India, Russia and China tourist visas on arrival.

By 2030, Qatar ambitiously hopes to increase the number of visitors to the country to 7 million people annually.

Thoughts?