Qatar Tourism announced a packed winter calendar for visitors and residents this season as restrictions on public gatherings ease and borders open, and the country states its readiness to stage in-person events.

Among the big events this season are Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), Qatar’s biggest multicultural festival with fine dining experiences featuring Michelin-star and world-class chefs, Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition and Qatar Live, a series of entertainment shows headlined by the biggest stars in the Arab world.

According to Qatar Tourism Chairman and Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, HE Akbar Al Baker, this year’s winter season is indicative of a restart for Qatar’s unparalleled tourism experiences. With 85% of the population successfully vaccinated and stringent health and safety measures in place, Qatar offers visitors and residents safe experiences to enjoy with the whole family.

It is our immense pleasure to welcome regional visitors as the country prepares to host mega sporting events like FIFA Arab Cup 2021 along with an exciting line-up of festivals and entertainment shows.

He added that with their new global promotional campaign Experience a World Beyond targeting 17 global markets and the collaborative efforts of Qatar’s ever-growing public and private sector partners, along with initiatives like Qatar Clean and Service Excellence, he said they are confident that this will be a memorable winter season for all.

Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF)

The first in the impressive line-up of events is Qatar’s longest-running food and beverage festival, Qatar International Food Festival, which runs from 26 November to 17 December, its longest edition to date. Taking place at Al Bidda Park, the festival combines culinary arts with a range of activations, including a live cooking theatre by renowned chefs. Over 140 vendors will serve at the festival.

The festival is also hosting food trucks at a stretch of Corniche Road for nine days and fireworks display at 9 pm every weekend (Thursday, Friday and Saturday) throughout the course of the festival. General admission to the festival is free but you can reserve a VIP area for QAR350.

Over the last decade, QIFF has grown as a festival, supporting local businesses and contributing to the country’s thriving dining scene by attracting international chefs to open local outlets.

World-Class Chefs

Qatar Tourism, in collaboration with Qatar Airways, Qatar Aircraft Catering Company (QACC) and Kings of Kitchen, launched World Class Chefs, a two-year initiative that will host high-profile Michelin-star chefs from around the world, to introduce the destination to the world’s top culinary talent and showcase Doha as an emerging gastronomy hub in the Middle East.

The project already hosted Michelin-star chefs such as Julien Roucheteau, Wolfgang Becker and  Aquiles Chavez.

Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition

The 18th Edition of the Heya Arabian Fashion Exhibition will open on 12 December and will run until 17 December at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center. The exhibition, a leading platform for modest and contemporary Arabian fashion, is expected to host over 130 exhibitors including designers from Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Morocco, Indonesia, India and Turkey, alongside a sizeable presence of home-grown talent.

This year, Heya will feature eight fashion shows, four workshops, four masterclasses and nine panel discussions on topics related to the fashion industry and sustainable fashion, featuring famous fashion experts from Qatar and from different parts of the world.

Qatar Live

Shortly after the launch of QIFF, the country will stage Qatar Live featuring renowned artists from the Arab world from 5 to 17 December. Tickets are now available to purchase via Virgin Megastore and are priced from QAR190 to QAR750.

  • Majida El Roumi (5 Dec) 
  • Mutref Al Mutref, Assala and Abdallah Al Rowaished (9 Dec)
  • Myriam Fares, Assi El Hallani and Salah Al Zadjali (16 Dec)
  • Aedh Yousef, Asma Lamnawar and Fahad Al-Kubaisi (17 Dec)

Family Entertainment

To provide an inclusive experience to families, Qatar Live is also hosting a Hot Wheels® Monster Trucks Experience from 8 to 11 December at Lusail Arena. The event will provide an exclusive opportunity for kids to see real-life versions of the famous Hot Wheels monster truck toys.

Tickets for the shows are available online at Virgin Megastore. Prices start at QAR75.

Ajyal Film Festival and Drive-in Cinema

Ajyal Film Festival was held across multiple venues in Qatar, including Katara Cultural Village, Sikket Al Wadi Msheireb and the drive-in cinema at Lusail. The festival brought together people of all ages through screenings and events that inspired creative interaction and stimulated cinematic dialogues. The drive-in cinema will run until March 2022.

Qatar Balloon Festival

Qatar Balloon Festival is set to return from 9 to 18 December at Aspire Park. The second edition of the festival is expecting at least 35 hot air balloons from around the world.

Aspire Lake Festival

Aspire Lake Festival, which will take place in January 2022 is a masterpiece for all ages to enjoy, featuring musical and artistic entertainment performed in boats on Aspire Lake.

Sports Events

The sporting highlight of the winter season revolves around the FIFA Arab Cup 2021™ and the recently concluded Formula 1. Qatar hosted a Formula 1 Grand Prix from 19 to 21 November for the first time ever. The FIFA Arab Cup 2021™, meanwhile, will bring 16 teams from across the Arab world to compete in Doha. Between 30 November and 18 December, the event will provide an opportunity to both competitors and spectators to experience the iconic stadiums that will host FIFA World Cup 2022™.

Business Events

Business events make up one of the most important tourism sub-sectors enriching Qatar’s calendar of local events. This winter, Qatar is hosting a slew of trade events, including the 6th edition of Hospitality Qatar and the first edition of Qatar Travel Mart (QTM).

WORLDCOB BIZZ Awards, which was staged from 23 to 26 November at The St. Regis Hotel aims to recognise business excellence and support businesses of all sizes. This December, the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) will return from 7 to 9 December at the QNCC.

Cruise Season

Following a gap of over a year, Qatar is resuming its cruise activities with its biggest season to date. During the 2021-22 season, Doha Port will receive 76 confirmed calls. Eleven cruise liners will make their maiden calls to Doha with the same number of turnaround calls and ten ships docking overnight, giving passengers two days to explore the destination’s offerings.

For more information on all events going on in Qatar, visit the Marhaba Calendar.

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