Browsing 'retail' News

Pixabay

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

A month-long shopping festival that includes various discounts, live concerts, stand-up comedy shows and even a Broadway musical will open in Qatar early next month.

Under the slogan “A brand new tradition,” Shop Qatar will run from Jan. 7 to Feb. 7, 2017, the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) has announced.

It will feature cash prizes of up to QR4 million, special offers on flights and hotel bookings and entertainment that includes the Broadway musical Cats.

Cats/Facebook

Cats the musical

According to the QTA, discounts of up to 50 percent will be offered by retailers in various venues, including the new Mall of Qatar, Hyatt Plaza, Al Khor Mall, Lagoona Mall, Gulf Mall, Landmark, Dar Al Salam Mall, The Gate and The Pearl-Qatar.

Wooing visitors

Qatar’s tourism numbers dipped this year, despite efforts to woo visitors.

Officials are hoping to turn this around by starting 2017 off strong, focusing on shopping because visitors who come to Qatar spend more on this than on hotel stays or eating out, QTA previously said.

In a statement this week, Rashed Al Qurese, Chief Marketing and Promotion Officer at QTA, said:

“We anticipate that a festival during the winter months has an even bigger chance of attracting visitors, due to the offering combined with Qatar’s great winter weather.

Shop Qatar is also timed to fall within mid-year holidays for potential visitors in neighboring countries, which are our largest source markets.”

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

Schedule

In terms of entertainment, Cats will be shown from Feb. 1 to 4 at the Qatar National Convention Center. Tickets will start at QR150/person.

There will also be two concerts featuring Arab singers on Jan. 20 and Jan. 27 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center. Tickets for this will cost from QR120 to QR1,250.

Craig Piersma/Flickr

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Meanwhile, the Doha Comedy Festival will run from Feb. 2 to Feb. 4 at the QNCC, featuring Arab and international comedians. Tickets will sell for QR120 to QR1,000.

All will be sold by Virgin Megastores soon.

More details about the festival can be found on its official website.

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?

For illustrative purposes only

MEC

For illustrative purposes only

In its latest attempt to outlaw fake sales, Qatar’s Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) has ruled that all shops must use a new quality mark when advertising their promotions.

The yellow “shop with confidence” logo should be “clearly and prominently” displayed on all stores’ posters and adverts to prove that the ministry has approved the promotions.

This is to boost transparency and “build customers’ trust” during sales, the MEC said in a statement this week about the initiative.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Ezdan Mall

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Shops that want to hold sales are already required to obtain a license that proves the goods they are discounting translate into genuine price savings for customers.

The MEC has previously penalized stores that don’t follow the rules stipulated in Qatar’s Consumer Protection Law (No. 8 of 2008).

This included fining and temporary closing stores, as well as withdrawing their permit to run promotions.

How it works

All stores must use the ministry’s new logo in promotional material that announces their sale.

This includes newspaper adverts and billboard posters, as well as on signs inside and outside their premises, the ministry’s announcement states.

The ministry’s website has template adverts that include its new mark and which can be downloaded by stores.

Sample newspaper advert using "shop with confidence" mark

MEC

Sample newspaper advert using “shop with confidence” mark

The bottom right corner of the sign is in yellow and includes the MEC logo and its hotline number for customer complaints.

“The presence of such trademark on an advertisement shows that the shop holds a reductions’ license from the ministry and fully complies with all standards, laws and regulations,” the MEC said.

Customers are also entitled to ask to see the price of the goods before the promotion. Additionally, the percentage of discount applied during the sale should be stated.

The ministry urged shoppers with complaints to contact its consumer protection hotline on 16001or e-mail: info@mec.gov.qa.

Crackdown

The ministry has taken a hard line in recent years on stores that hold sales, following numerous customer complaints about bogus discounts.

Last December, department store BHS was fined nearly QR20,000 for apparently misleading customers during its sales promotion.

In a statement at the time, the ministry said inspectors found that the Landmark mall branch had had been charging more for items than had been advertised.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

MEC/Twitter

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

And in June last year, three stores also in Landmark mall were fined QR6,000 each and had their licenses to hold discounts revoked after officers found their discounts to be bogus.

One of them was the popular children’s clothes shop Gymboree.

Thoughts?