According to the World Food Travel Association, ‘food travel or food tourism is the act of traveling for a taste of place in order to get a sense of place’. Endless new food shows, blogs and vlogs are inspiring foodies around the world to tackle their own food bucket lists on the world map.
When a hub like Qatar– where cultural authenticity meets modernity and people of the world come together to enjoy the best of both – hosts the country’s longest-running food festival during your upcoming spring break, why not jump on the chance to check off your ever-growing food wish list in just one trip? Here are ten reasons why you should attend the Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF) from March 20-30 this year:
1. Milestone Special Edition
Having earned its position as one of the most anticipated events in the Arabian Peninsula, QIFF welcomes foodies from around the globe every spring to celebrate the world’s diverse cuisines. A whopping 400,000 visitors from all corners of the globe enjoyed the 11-day food galore festival last year, and in the spirit of the 10th anniversary this year, festival organisers are planning an unprecedented explosion of flavours, special culinary experiences, entertainment and memorable authentic experiences.
2. A Whopping Number of Food Choices
With an 11-day food itinerary, you’ll have the chance to experience 150 delectable F&B options. Hotels, restaurants, cafes, caterers and upcoming local entrepreneurs are offering mouthwatering goodies ranging from popular Arabic delicacies to all major international cuisines; from fresh organic produce and healthy options to innovative creations and food combinations that are bound to surprise you.
3. Eat. Play. Learn
You’ll unleash your wanderlust and inner sightseer as QIFF brings Qatar’s iconic venues into the spotlight. This year’s visitors will take in all Qatar’s Education City has to offer, with the festival taking center stage in its impressively designed and landscaped Oxygen Park. True to its name, Education City is home to seven world-renowned higher education institutions and cutting-edge research centres and features exquisitely-designed buildings including the spectacular Qatar National Library, the award-winning Minaretein building (Education City Mosque), Qur’anic Botanic Garden, a state-of-the-art equestrian centre, the landmark Golf Club with a TrackMan range, Chef’s Garden organic restaurant and Torba Farmers Market.
4. International Culinary Maestros
Every year, globally-acclaimed chefs enthrall audiences with their culinary magic at QIFF. Fans and food lovers not only watch their craft in awe, buy also have the opportunity to meet and greet them in person. Culinary gurus like Martha Stewart, Anna Olsen, Andy Bates, Graham Elliot and Sanjeev Kapoor have graced QIFF’s Live Cooking Theatre over the years, and this year, around 30 acclaimed international and local celebrity chefs from 14 countries join the QIFF platform. Dominique Ansel, Eric Lanlard, Ranveer Brar, Siba Mtongana, Jenny Morris, Lorraine Pascale, Bobbie Lloyd and Jameela Al Lenqawi are just a few of these names.
On the sidelines of the festival, aspiring chefs can attend the Chef’s Table cooking masterclasses at select 5-star restaurants across Doha from maestros like Iron Chef Masharu Morimoto, Richard Sandoval, Nobu Matsuhissa and Barista Trainer Sam Ceviköz.
5. Now Is the Time to Visit!
Qatar is a hub to explore and discover, and what better time than now? In January, Forbes published their Top 15 Places To Travel In 2019 placing Qatar in the centre on #7, highlighting spectacular cultural landmarks like the Jean Nouvel-designed Qatar National Museum and Msheireb Museums that opened its doors this year. New York Times followed suit by listing Qatar as the only GCC country to make it in their annual list of the ‘52 Places to Go in 2019’, recommending this Arabian peninsula as the hot new destination for tourists from all over the world.
6. One of the Most Open Countries in the World
Thanks to its strategic location at the crossroads of East and West, Qatar is just 6-7 hours away from key international travel hubs on average, with just 80% of the world’s population within a 6-hour flight from Qatar. From electronic visa systems and improved immigration processes at the ports of entry, it couldn’t be easier. Qatar offers visa waivers to citizens of 88 countries, and, depending on their country of origin, visitors can enjoy a stay of up to 30 or 90 days. As a result, the UNWTO openness rankings released last year placed Qatar as the 8th most open in the world and the most open in the Middle East.
7. World’s Safest Country
Whether you are planning a solo trip, family vacation, or girls’ getaway, safety is nothing to worry about! You can enjoy the festival till late hours without worry and freely explore the vibrant city at any hour, with Qatar ranking as the safest country in the world among 118 countries according to the latest annual report issued by Numbeo, the world’s largest database of user contributed data on cities and countries.
8. Home to Award-winning Airlines and Airport
We know you’ve heard of Qatar Airways, the country’s national carrier that’s won countless awards for its quality and service including three ‘Airline of the Year’ awards by Skytrax. Qatar Airways covers more than 150 destinations worldwide, and the Transit Visa allows Qatar Airways passengers transiting through Qatar for a minimum of five hours to remain in the country for up to 96 hours. After enjoying a luxurious flight, you’ll set foot in Hamad International Airport (HIA) with officially ranked with 5-Star status, the best airport in the Middle East, and the 5th best airport in the world.
9. Beautiful Weather and Unlimited Outdoor Activities
Tired of the harsh cold weather and snow season? Qatar’s sunny spring weather is the best time to visit, with daytime temperatures averaging 23°C. Explore all the outdoor cultural attractions Qatar has to offer like the Museum of Islamic Art or Katara Cultural Village, capture the scenic Doha skyline from the waterfront promenade Corniche, or take a guided tour through the century-old vibrant alleys of Souq Waqif. For the adventurer in you, head over to the Inland Sea – a UNESCO-recognised natural reserve and a rare example of the sea encroaching deep into the heart of the desert – to enjoy a heart-stopping ride over the rolling dunes, glorious desert sunsets and moonlit barbeques at Bedouin-style camps in the desert.
10. Watch the Preparations of 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™
Being the first Middle Eastern country to earn the rights to host the next FIFA World Cup™ in 2022, Qatar is making sports history! Take a tour around the city to view the eye-catching stadium designs and take in all the preparations taking place ahead of the global sporting event. With Qatar hosting close to 80 sporting events annually, there’s no better place for sports-lovers to visit this spring!
Qatar National Tourism Council’s mission is to firmly establish Qatar on the global map as a place where cultural authenticity meets modernity, and where people of the world come together to experience unique offerings in culture, sports, business and family entertainment.
QNTC’s work is guided by the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy (QNTSS), which seeks to diversify the country’s tourism offering and increase the sector’s contribution toQatar’s economy by 2030. In 2017, the Next Chapter of QNTSS was launched, charting the next five years (2018-2023) of the tourism sector’s growth.
In 2018, QNTC launched a global destination campaign under the tagline ‘Qatar, Qurated for you.’ Curating requires professional or expert knowledge to select, organise and present unique experiences. As such, the Qurated campaign plays on the word’s definition and the destination brand’s iconic Q to underscore the country’s focus on delivering tailored visitor-centric experiences.
Since launching QNTSS, Qatar has welcomed over 10 million visitors. The economic impact of the tourism sector in Qatar is becoming increasingly visible with 2016 estimates showing a total (direct and indirect) contribution to Qatar’s GDP of 6.7%. www.visitqatar.qa
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