After a month of celebrating and showcasing the best Qatar has to offer in retail and entertainment, the curtain has drawn on the first edition of Shop Qatar with a thrilling finale at Mall of Qatar. The closing ceremony saw the final raffle draw of the festival, in which 14 winners claimed cash prizes and one shopper hit the jackpot with a QAR 1 million prize. The festival wrapped up with traditional ‘ardha and dabke performances, and a free concert by Majed Al Muhandes on the mall’s OASIS stage.

Running from 7 January to 7 February, Shop Qatar offered something for all residents and visitors, including shopping promotions, outdoor activities, live entertainment, beauty and fashion events, musical performances and comedy acts.

QTA introduced the annual shopping festival following the notable recent growth of Qatar’s retail sector, matched by its strong contribution to tourism spending. According to the draft Tourism Satellite Account, shopping represented a bigger portion of tourism spending in 2014 than hotel bookings or F&B, generating 6 billion QAR.

Rashed Al Qurese, QTA’s Chief Marketing and Promotion Officer added:

We were very pleased to see the collaborative spirit shown from the various private and public sector partners who worked together to enrich the festival’s offering and provide a platform for authentic Qatari innovations. I am confident that together we can continue to expand this festival in the years to come and reinforce Qatar’s position as a destination of choice for shoppers and families. The success of Shop Qatar has given us a great start for 2017, and we look forward to maintaining this momentum with the eighth edition of the Qatar International Food Festival which will take place later this quarter.’

A Platform for Small Businesses & Local Designers

Small businesses were also present at the festival, which was designed with entrepreneurs in mind. Thirty pop-up shops spread across five of the participating malls ensured locally designed and produced goods were represented in the festival, and helped entrepreneurs gain exposure to visitors and residents.

In addition to the pop-up shops, five SMEs under The Bedaya Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (Bedaya Center) catered to the throngs of families who headed out to the corniche and Hotel Park during the weekends for the outdoor activities held as part of Shop Qatar.

Edutainment & Retail-tainment

Infusing an educational element in the outdoor festivities, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development provided free screenings of episodes of Siraj, its new 3D animation ‘edutainment’ TV series, at Shop Qatar weekend events.

The newly-opened Mall of Qatar played host to the opening and closing ceremonies of Shop Qatar, featuring free live concerts by Fahad Al Kubaisi and Majed AlMuhandes respectively, in addition to a special appearance by Siwar Choir. It was also the venue for the festival’s weekly raffle draws and the largest number of pop-up shops.

Live performances

Shop Qatar brought a bagful of entertainment options for live performance lovers. Throughout the early weeks, there were free daily shows of the African Circus in the outdoor area surrounding Hyatt Plaza, in addition to ongoing roaming shows to entertain shoppers at malls.

Residents and visitors also had a chance to watch award-winning music sensation Hussain Al Jassmi serenade his fans in live concert. And in the final weekend, Broadway’s longest-running musical, CATS, as well as the first ever winter edition of the Doha Comedy Festival entertained thousands at the Qatar National Convention Centre.

Attractive Shop-over Offers for GCC residents

In support of the month-long festival, Qatar Airways ensured all those booking flights to Qatar from within the GCC for the period between 7 January and 7 February received a 25% discount. In addition, members of Qatar Airways’ Privilege Club received double Q-miles on their bookings during Shop Qatar.