Mathaf: Doha layover suggestion

mathaf

With the rise of Qatar Airways as a long-haul airline, Doha has become an increasingly easy short-term layover destination. The Qatari flag carrier boasts especially good links between Europe and Asia via Doha. Its route map include a whopping 12 cities in India, three in China, and four in Pakistan; notably, the airline also shuttles European tourists to the Indian Ocean holiday playgrounds of the Maldives and Seychelles. In 2012, Qatar Airways will introduce an additional slate of fascinating destinations, including Kiev, Kigali, Perth, and Zanzibar.

Doha’s got plenty of tourism draws, including the renovated Souq Waqif, the Museum of Islamic Art, and its Corniche. Qatar is terribly rich, with the world’s highest or second-highest GDP, depending on the evaluation matrix. As you might expect, Doha’s infrastructure for visitors is undeniably impressive. The city is also in the midst of a major construction boom. The stadiums under construction for the 2022 World Cup alone will keep construction humming through the end of the decade.

Since the tail-end of 2010, Doha has been home to Mathaf, Qatar’s Arab Museum of Modern Art. Mathaf’s current show, Cai Guo-Qiang’s Saraab, features 16 impressive commissioned pieces and scores of past works. Guo-Qiang is a major artist, famous for his large-scale projects involving gunpowder and fireworks. He is particularly well known for orchestrating the extraordinary fireworks displays at the 2008 Beijing Olympics’ opening and closing ceremonies.

In Arabic, “saraab” means mirage. The exhibition endeavors to explore connections between Quanzhou, Guo-Qiang’s hometown, and Doha, as well as between China and the Arab world more generally. Trade links between Quanzhou and the Arabian Peninsula are not difficult to trace–the former was once the starting point of the Maritime Silk Road–and Guo-Qiang makes the most of this connection. One particularly appealing piece, titled Endless, consists of three boats, one Chinese and two Qatari, sitting side-by-side in a shallow pool, shrouded in mist.

The museum, located in a former school building, was revamped smartly by the French architect Jean-François Bodin. Other notable features of the museum include a library with a great magazine selection and a cute café.

Mathaf is a good 14 kilometers (about eight miles) from central Doha. The going rate for a taxi from a hotel is 60 riyal ($16.50). Admission to exhibitions costs 25 riyal (just shy of $7) per person. The museum is closed on Monday. Saraab runs through May 26.

World Travel Awards handed out, Middle East wins big

World Travel AwardsThe World Travel Awards (WTA) were handed out Wednesday in a Grand Final Gala Ceremony in Doha, Qatar. Honoring the world’s most successful travel and tourism brands, the ceremony was a culmination of a year-long search for the best of the best. The winners we chosen by over 200,000 travel professionals for their role in helping the worldwide economic recovery who put travel-related companies in the Middle East on top.

Abu Dhabi
won some of the most sought-after travel awards in the industry as Emirates Palace picked up two honors, World’s Leading Meetings & Conference Centre and World’s Leading Presidential Suite.

Qatar has a “decisive role in generating new opportunities in travel and tourism,” said Graham Cooke, the president and founder of World Travel Awards reports CNN. Over $100 billion worth of infrastructure is planned for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Doha, according to Cooke who chose to hold the award ceremony in the Qatari capital.
Etihad Airways, fastest growing airline in history, was voted World’s Leading Airline for the third year in a row. Etihad also won for World’s Leading Airline First Class and World’s Leading Airline to the Middle East.

“We are delighted to have been named World’s Leading Airline at the World Travel Awards for the third successive year,” James Hogan, Etihad Airways chief executive told BreakingTravelNews.

Etihad Airways success in Doha comes on the heels the World Travel Awards Middle East in May, when the airline won Middle East’s Leading Airline, Middle East’s Leading Airline First Class, Middle East’s Leading Cabin Staff and Middle East’s Leading Airline In-flight Entertainment.

See full list of winners



Visit Abu Dhabi in Dubai



Flickr photo by rogerbarker2

Qatar Airways celebrates launch of 100th destination with BOGO promotion


qatar airways

In anticipation of the launch of Qatar Airways‘ 100th destination, the airline is offering a special buy-one-get-one promotion for those purchasing tickets on April 6th or 7th, as well as a 100 pair ticket giveaway from now through April 16.

To score the BOGO promotion, book through the link above for travel between May 1 and June 10. The offer is only valid for Economy class travel and is not valid for customers traveling between Sao Paulo and Bueno Aires, and from Houston, New York or Washington to Doha. Children must book as adults, and the promotion is not available for code shares.


Already a frequent flyer? The luxury airline’s frequent flyer rewards program, Privilege Club, is offering members bonus Qmiles and a special discount on award tickets.

What are the top five cities for business travel?

London for businessSome cities are better for doing business than others, it seems. Of course, business travelers (well, professionals in general) all have their preferences. Having done my time in Omaha, Winnipeg and London (Ontario), I can tell you that some places are better than others. So, I was pretty excited to see think tank Z/Yen put out its Global Financial Centres Index (PDF), which shows the top five cities in the world in which to do business.

There aren’t many suprises at the top end of the list, which comes out twice a year. The rankings are determined using “five key areas of competitiveness,” according to Inside Investor Relations: people, business, environment, market access, infrastructure and general competitiveness.”

So, what are the top five?

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1. London
2. New York
3. Hong Kong
4. Singapore
5. Shanghai

As you can see, 60 percent of the top of the heap are in Asia, which signifies a spike in recent years. Inside Investor Relations reports that there were only three Asian cities in the top 20 when the index was first published in March 2007. Now, there are not only three in the top five but eight in the top 20, while North America has only six and Europe five.

Interestingly, the study notes that the top three are effectively tied. Inside Investor Relations notes:

According to the study, however: ‘there remains no significant difference between London, New York and Hong Kong… respondents continue to believe that these centers work together for mutual benefit.’

The top financial center in the Middle East is Dubai, which comes in at 28th overall. It is two places above Qatar. Next are Bahrain at 49th and Riyadh at 70th, still way back in the distance.

[Photo by TJ Morris via Flickr]

Qatar Airways expands into Montreal; reaches 100th destination milestone

qatar airlinesQatar Airways will become the first Gulf area airline to serve Canada when it expands into Montreal with service on June 29. The non-stop journey from the airline’s hub in Doha to Montreal‘s Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport will be a total flying time of 13 hrs 20 minutes and will be offered three times weekly, on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Montreal will become the airline’s fourth North American destination, currently operates daily flights to New York, Washington and Houston.

Qatar is home to more than 3,000 Canadian citizens and two Canadian university satellite campuses, The College of the North Atlantic and the University of Calgary.

Canadian nationals arriving in Qatar may enter the country without prior visa arrangements. Passengers with Qatar as their end destination may enter by obtaining a visa on arrival.

The Boeing 777 on the Montreal route has a two-class operation, offering 42 seats in Business in a spacious 2–2–2 cabin layout, with a seat pitch of 78 inches that is already the envy of competitor airlines as the seats stretch into lie-flat beds, a key demand of the corporate traveller.

In Economy, the Boeing 777 offers 217 seats in a 3–3–3 configuration with a pitch of up to 34-inch, which is among the most generous of any international airline flying wide-body aircraft on long-haul routes.

On March 6, Qatar Airways adds Stuttgart to its global network, followed on April 6 with new flights to the historic Syrian city of Aleppo – the airline’s milestone 100th destination. Flights to Shiraz, Qatar Airways’ third gateway in Iran begin on June 5, followed 10 days later on June 15 by scheduled services to Venice, the carrier’s third destination in Italy.

[Flickr via Deanster1983]