Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) successfully concluded its second Desert Caravan Challenge on Saturday 7 February 2015.
QTA Chairman, HE Issa Bin Mohammed Al Mohannad, said:
We’re always seeking to diversify the tourism products offered by the tourism sector by encouraging the launch of new ones every now and then that entice to tourists and highlight the rich Qatari heritage as well as the importance of preserving Qatar’s archeological wealth. The challenge is part of QTA’s efforts to support cultural tourism and introduce archeological sites to residents and visitors especially that they reflect the deep history and originality of this land that witnessed the struggle of our ancestors and their adherence to traditions.’
Two caravans, each consisting of 15 adventure lovers, participated in the 12 km camel-riding endurance challenge. The two caravans kicked off from the historical Bait Al Imam (House of Imam) near to the historical mosque of Zekreet on 6 February 2015, winding their way through the scenic desert sand along the western quarter of Qatar straight forward to the historical fort of Zekreet. The two caravans then stopped for breaks at specific sites near the famous sculptures of Richard Serra at the Ras Brouq area and the ancient ruins of Zekreet village.
Most of the participants are citizens and residents of Qatar, with some participation from the GCC countries. The age groups of the participants ranged between 18 and 60. Moreover, 50% of the participants were women. At the end of the 5-hour long journey, participants enjoyed a wonderful Arabic hospitality experience in the middle of the Bait Al Imam, at the village of Zekreet.
QTA organises this challenge in cooperation with Qatar Museums (QM), while Marsa Malaz Kempinski Hotel, Souq Waqif Boutique hotels, Regency Travel and Tours, and Qatar International Adventures are the official sponsors of the event.
Certificates were handed to the 15 participants, in the presence of Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA, Dr Fatema Al Sulaiti and Faisal Al Noaimi from Archeology Department at QMA. The challenge was open to Qatari citizens and residents over the age of 18 both male and female, including those who have little or no camel-riding experience, as a number of highly qualified camel-riding trainers will accompany the participants. QTA arranges the annual event at no cost to participants, but the ride is a grueling test of endurance that only adults in good physical condition should consider registering.
The challenge is intended to show the authentic Arab hospitality. It also aims to showcasing citizens’ desire to support tourism in their country and develop a modern and sustainable tourism sector with deep cultural roots particularly that all organisers and sponsors, as well as trainers and tour guides, are Qatari citizens.
The Desert Caravan Challenge is part of QTA’s efforts to diversify tourism products in Qatar; shed light on Qatar as a world tourism destination with deep cultural roots; promote historical landmarks such as Zekreet Fort and Al Zubara Archeological Site, a UNESCO world heritage site; and showcase the beauty of the Qatari desert and nature.