As we bid farewell to 2020 and express our hopeful greetings for the coming year, we look back at some of the biggest news in Qatar besides the COVID-19 restrictions and announcements the government has made in the past months.
1. The new Minimum Wage Law and removal of NOC
As part of Qatar’s ongoing efforts to introduce legislative reforms, in August 2020 Qatar introduced a basic monthly minimum wage of QAR1,000 for migrant workers, including domestic workers, and abolished the No-Objection Certificate (NOC) requirement to change jobs. The new minimum wage law will come into effect in March 2021.
2. Doha to host 2030 Asian Games
In December, Doha won the 2030 Asian Games bid race against the Saudi candidate city, Riyadh, with the 45 members of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) voting in Muscat to pick Doha. This will be the second time that the Qatari capital will host this event, the biggest multi-disciplined sports gathering after the Olympic Games. Doha hosted the 2006 Asian Games, bringing together more than 10,000 athletes, players and media for the two-week gathering.
3. Qatar receives Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine
Qatar received the first batch of the Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine on 23 December. The state has begun a free coronavirus vaccination campaign for citizens who wish to be vaccinated with healthcare workers and elderly people among those having priority.
4. The opening of Salwa Beach Resort and Qatar’s largest theme park!
Owned by Katara Hospitality and managed by Hilton Hotels & Resorts, The much-anticipated Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas opened in July. Its theme park, Desert Falls Water and Adventure Park, opened on 30 December.
5. Opening of Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium
The 40,000-seat Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium was the fourth to be unveiled for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Located in Al Rayyan, it was officially opened on Qatar’s National Day, 18 December, and will host seven games at the World Cup.
6. Qatar commits to the first sustainable World Cup
Also related to FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, Qatar is not only the first Arab country to host the event, but also the first to jointly release a sustainability strategy with FIFA. The first Sustainability Progress Report was released in October, concerning the five sustainability commitments, which include human rights, diversity and environmental protection.
7. Qatar’s new banknotes
Qatar Central Bank (QCB) unveiled a new series of Qatari Riyal banknotes on Qatar National Day, 18 December. QCB also unveiled a new QAR200 banknote, as part of the fifth series of the local currency. The new note shows pictures of the Palace of Sheikh Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar National Museum and the Museum of Islamic Art.
8. New Guinness World Records
Qatar achieved an astonishing three world records in 2020. Ashghal broke two records on Al Khor Road Project, one for the Longest Continuous Cycle Path (32.689 km) and the Longest Piece of Asphalt Concrete Laid Continuously (25.275 km). There was also a title for Kahramaa, for the world’s largest drinking water storage tank with a volume of 436,000 cubic metres.
9. Another world record – this time, for shipbuilding!
In June, HE Saad Sherida Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs and the President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum, signed the largest LNG shipbuilding agreements in history. This was to secure 100+ ships costing over QAR70 bn, accounting for around 60% of the global LNG shipbuilding capacity through to 2027.
10. Okay, this is the last world record!
The Radisson Blu Hotel, Doha cooked over 2,000 kg of fried chicken in February, breaking the previous record for the ‘World’s Largest Serving of Fried Chicken‘. Qatar was actually the first country to hold the world title in 2008, when KFC in Villagio Mall set a Guinness World Record with 336 kg. Japan then took the world record with 1667.301 kg, before it was taken back by Qatar.
Copyright © Marhaba Information Guide. Reproduction of material from Marhaba Information Guide’s book or website without written permission is strictly prohibited. Using Marhaba Information Guide’s material without authorisation constitutes as plagiarism as well as copyright infringement.