Superstar football David Beckham has appeared in a fresh campaign to promote tourism in Qatar, just months before the Gulf state is due to host the world’s biggest sporting event.
The former footballer turned manager, who has recently been appointed an ambassador for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, takes centre stage in the new Visit Qatar campaign, which aims to promote a range of sites in Qatar for those making stopovers.
Qatar is expected to welcome more than 1.2 million visitors for the month-long World Cup in November and has invested heavily into elevating its tourism nationwide.
“We have something for everyone at incredible value, whether it’s sun, sea, sand, rich heritage and culture, or a modern and fun city break,” said Akbar Al Baker, chairman of Qatar Tourism and group CEO of Qatar Airways, noting the idea is to encourage all those who pass through Doha to follow in the footsteps of Beckham.
From meeting the country’s most talented artists to motorcycling through the streets of Pearl Island, here is a quick checklist on where to go and what to do for anyone with 48 hours to spend in Qatar.
Built on the site of Doha’s century old trading market,Souq Waqif stands as a traditional site against the backdrop of Doha’s dramatic modernist skyline.
With its mud-daubed buildings, the market harkens to a bygone era while remaining a hub of activity, where commerce and street life collide.
Souq Waqif’s winding alleys offer various options for those looking to shop around, including herbs and spices, traditional robes and clothing and more.
Known as the world’s first sustainable downtown regeneration project, Msheireb Downtown revives Doha’s old commercial district with a new architectural twist.
The area boasts some 100 buildings with commercial and residential properties as well as retail and cultural offerings that surround the stunning Barahat courtyard.
The district is also home to Msheireb Museums, a project that celebrates the history of Qatar through four heritage houses.
Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the National Museum of Qatar draws inspiration from and recreates the naturally occurring crystal formations known as the desert rose.
Built around Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani’s original palace, and the seat of government for 25 years, the National Museum of Qatar offers an in-depth insight into Qatar’s heritage, present and future.
Arguably one of Qatar’s most iconic attractions, the Doha Corniche is a seven kilometre stretch of promenade overlooking the waterfront.
With a crescent shaped walkway around the Doha Bay, the Corniche offers the best views of the city’s modern skyline. For an extra special experience, jump on a traditional wooden dhow boat just before sunset to catch golden hour as the skyscrapers light up for the night.
Katara is a self-styled cultural village nestled between the gleaming financial district of West Bay, and the half-moon towers of The Pearl residential neighbourhood.
Bordered by a vast beach on one side, and the twin Katara Hills on the other, Katara is Doha’s go-to destination for art, culture and cuisine.
Home to a public beach, a beautiful Turkish-style mosque, a classical Greek style amphitheatre and winding alleyways laced with cultural houses and cafes, Katara is perfect for a day out with the family.
The Pearl Qatar is a man-made island near Doha’s West Bay District. Featuring Mediterranean-style yacht-lined marinas, residential towers, villas, and hotels, the area also offers a luxurious shopping experience.
The island is also home to modern dining spots – from refreshing ice creams to five-star culinary experiences, and stands out for its pedestrian-friendly squares and plazas along with its wide range of landscaped gardens.
Qatar’s ‘Inland Sea’ or Khor Al Adaid, is an UNESCO recognised site that lies in the south of the country. The Inland Sea is one of the few places in the world where the sea encroaches into the desert.
For a truly authentic desert experience, nothing beats a camel ride over the soft dunes, before embarking on an exhilarating desert safari over the dunes to Khor Al Adaid, accessible only by 4×4 vehicles.
A range of desert activities are also scattered through the desert, including sand-boarding, quad biking, paragliding, kitesurfing and more.