Thursday, December 9, 2010


Overview: State of Qatar

National Flag of Qatar

Map of Qatar

State of Qatar is an Arab country, known officially as an emirate, in the Middle East. It is located by the North to Saudi Arabia. Qatar is a nation rich in oil and gas, with the third largest gas reserves, and has one of the highest GDP per capita in the world; it is believed to be the new Dubai.

Qatar benefits from year-round sunshine, with temperatures ranging from 25ºC (74ºF) up to 45ºC (113ºF) in summer. The best months to enjoy Qatar's pleasant weather are between October and May.
The climate of Qatar is typical of hot and arid desert lands, pleasant in winter and extremely hot in summer. Short transitional periods separate the two main seasons.

Area: 11,437 sq. km. (4,427 sq. mi.); about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.
Capital--Doha 431,525 (2005 est.). Other cities--Messaieed, Al-Khor, Dukhan, Ruwais.
Terrain: Mostly desert, flat, barren.
Climate: Hot and humid, with a mild winter.

Noun and adjective--Qatari(s).
Population (May 2008 est.): 1,448,446; males 1,096,815 (75.7%); females 351,630 (24.3%).
Population growth rate (May 2008 est.): 59.6%.
Ethnic groups: Qatari (Arab) 20%; other Arab 20%; Indian 20%; Filipino 10%; Nepali 13%; Pakistani 7%; Sri Lankan 5%; other 5%.
Religion: Islam (state religion, claimed by virtually all of the indigenous population).
Languages: Arabic (official); English (widely spoken).
Compulsory--ages 6-16. Attendance--98%. Literacy (2004 est.)--89% total population, 89.1% male, 88.6% female.
Health (2007 est.): 
Infant mortality rate--17.46/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--74.14 years.
Work force (2006): 508,000. 
Private sector--61.2%; mixed sector--28.5%; government--5.6%.

Type: Constitutional monarchy.
Independence: September 3, 1971.
Constitution: Approved by popular vote 2003; came into force June 2005.
Executive--Council of Ministers. Legislative--Advisory Council (currently appointed pending elections; has assumed only limited responsibility to date). Judicial--independent.
Subdivisions: Fully centralized government; seven municipalities.
Political parties: None.
Suffrage: Universal over age 18, since 1999.

GDP (2010 est.): $128 billion.
Real growth rate (2010 est.): 19%.
Per capita income (2007): $67,000.
Natural resources: Petroleum, natural gas, fish.
Agriculture: Accounts for less than 2% of GDP. 
Products--fruits and vegetables (most food is imported).
Types--oil production and refining and natural gas development (56% of GDP), mining, manufacturing, construction, and power.
Trade (2006 est.): 
Exports--$34 billion, principally oil 47% and gas 36%. Partners (2005)--Japan 36.3%, South Korea 19.1%, Singapore 8.1%, India 5.1%, U.A.E. 2.9%, U.S. 1.2%.Imports--$6.7 billion, principally consumer goods, machinery, food. Partners (2005)--France 11.8%, Japan 10.7% U.S. 10.6%, Germany 8.5%, Saudi Arabia 7.4%, U.K. 7.1%, Italy 6.6%, South Korea 5.6%, U.A.E. 4.9%.

Culture of Qatar

In the past, some tribes were nomadic, living in tents that could easily be packed up and moved. Today, a few people still live semi-nomadic lives in the desert, but most people have settled in cities and towns and have jobs in industry or with government. Most families live in individual houses. The government provides housing for all citizens who need it. Private companies or government agencies that hire foreign workers also provide them with housing.

Hospitality is an important feature of Qatari life. Most Qataris receive male guests at home in a majlis (reception area). Traditionally, according to Bedouin custom, guests were seated on the floor on large cushions (as shown above). Nowadays, however, the majlis usually has sofas and chairs. Men and women rarely socialize together. Women receive their friends in a separate part of the house

Most Qatari women, especially older ones, wear the thoub, a long black coat, which covers the entire body, and a hejab, a black headcovering through which only the eyes, nose and mouth are visible. Underneath the thoub, women often wear Western-style clothes. Despite these restrictions, Qatari women are permitted to drive cars. They are also eager to become more educated and compete with men in different professions. Today, There are considerably more female than male students attending Qatar University.

Festivals in Qatar

Culture of Qatar showcases the essence of the country. Since Qatar is a gulf country therefore its culture is Arabic. But with changing times the culture of Qatar has also changed. Over the past few years many people have migrated to this region and with them they have brought their cultures and traditions and now the culture of Qatar exhibits the cultural traditions of many other religions too.
The culture of Qatar can be seen almost everywhere the county uses Wahhabi law as which is a version of Islam which takes a literature of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah. Several cultural centres have also come up in the region in order to promote and conserve the culture of Qatar. At many cultural centres you can see the famous music and dances of the region.

The main religion of Qatar is Islam hence Islamic festivals in Qatar are celebrated with great pomp and pride. The main celebrated festivals in Qatar are Eid Al-Fitr which marks the end of the fasting month Ramadan, and Eid Al-Adha. Eid Al-Fitr is also known as Eid, it marks the end of Ramadan. This festivals in Qatar celebrates of the moral victory. It is a day when people forgive and peace prevails as foes become friends. People meet at statdium in large gatherings and they greet each other with hugs which symbolize their love. The Eid is the festivals in Qatar celebrate brotherhood and unity.

The other popular festival in Qatar is Ramadan which is month of fasting. During this festival Muslims practice self control. During this time Qataris dress in traditional dresses (see above). Families wake up very early and keep fasts. There are variations regarding the time in which Ramadan's fasting is linked to the lunar calendar. Eid ul-Adha is another popular festival in Qatar. The festival commemorates Prophet Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael for God.

Other popular festivals celebrated in Qatar are Diwali, Dusshera and Christmas though these are not Islamic festivals but due to the increasing number of Indians and Christians living in the region these festivals in Qatar have also become one of the popular festivities celebrated.

Traditions of Qatar

Pork is illegal in Qatar, and observant Muslims will not drink alcohol. The meat they eat must be Halal: the name of God must be uttered at the moment the animal is killed (normally by slitting its throat) and as much blood as possible should be drained out of the animals' body before it dies.

In Qatar, despite the hot weather, people do not wear revealing clothes (singlets and shorts) as it is a quranic requirement that Muslims, both male and female, dress and behave modestly, for non-Muslims, wearing revealing clothes will be offensive to the Qatari culture.

Qatar indigenous groups

A large portion of the population of the present day Qatar is, or originated from, Bedu tribes. The word Bedu itself means inhabitant of the desert. Some believed that being a Bedu was a matter of tribe, whereas others believed that once settled people can no longer be called Bedu. In Qatar there are no longer any Bedouin who are still travelling, although some of the older Qataris will have spent the early part of their life travelling by camel.
Despite this, many Qatari Bedouin wish to retain a link with the desert, like some keep a permanent tent in the desert, along with herds of camels and hires someone to look after them.

Qatar language

Arabic is the official language of Qatar.
There are three distinct forms of Arabic. Classical or Qur’anical Arabic, Formal or Modern Standard Arabic and Spoken or Colloquial Arabic. Classical Arabic is the form of Arabic literally found in the Qur’an. It is used neither in conversation, nor in non-religious writing. As such, Classical Arabic is primarily learned for reading and reciting Islamic religious texts.

Qatar mode of education

The tentative beginnings of education in Qatar were in the first half of the twentieth century when boys and girls were taught in the traditional ‘katateeb’ schools. They were taught many subjects but without a formal system. Since those early days, education in Qatar has made great leaps and developed into a system of education reaching all the way to highest stages. Qatar follows a policy of compulsory and continuous education where all citizens receive free schooling reflecting the country’s identity and providing equal opportunities to all.

Qatar follows a policy of compulsory education until the end of the preparatory stage and free education to all citizens. Basic education consists of the following stages,

  • Elementary Stage: Six years 
  • Preparatory Stage: Three years 
  • Secondary Stage: Three years
The secondary stage was divided into two streams of specialization: scientific and literary. In 1962 religious and trade education were incorporated in the general education system.

The country has 113 elementary schools; 60 for boys and 53 for girls, 56 preparatory schools; 28 for boys and 28 for girls, and 41 secondary schools; 19 for boys and 22 for girls. Government schools provide free education for the children of non-Qatari residents who work for the public sector. Qatar also has private schools as well as schools for the different Arab communities like the Lebanese, Jordanian and Sudanese schools plus those for non-Arab communities like the Indian, American and other schools.

The curriculum of the Primary and intermediate cycles emphasise basic literacy and numeracy skills.
The Secondary cycle focuses on preparing students for University, technical or vocational training, or for joining the workforce directly.

Education City

More recently, with the support of the Qatar Foundation, some major American universities have opened branch campuses in Education City, Qatar.

Weill Cornell Medical College (One of the 6 major US universities branch)

In 2007 the American Brookings Institution decided to open a Brookings Doha Center to undertake research and programming on the socio-economic and geo-political issues facing the region.

Furthermore, in 2008, Qatar established the Qatar Science & Technology Park at Education City to link those universities with industry. Education City is also home to a fully accredited International Baccalaureate school, Qatar Academy. Two Canadian institutions, the College of the North Atlantic and the University of Calgary, also operate campuses in Doha. Other for-profit universities have also established campuses in the city.

Types of leisure programmes Qatar has

Falconry was both sport and hunting. Codrai, in his book the Seven Shaikdoms, remembers a Bedu he knew being richly rewarded for capturing a falcon with a net trap. When the birds were being trained they were seldom separated from their handlers.

Bedu used the falcons to hunt their houbara or turkey boustard, which would cross the Gulf on an annual migration. Houbara would flee at the approach of hunters before the hunters could get in shooting range - but getting beyond the range of the smaller falcons was another matter. Sadly, houbara are now rare in Qatar, and many of the richer Qataris will travel abroad to hunt with their falcons. (Falcons can sometimes be seen in the first class section of Qatar Airways - with a seat for themselves!)

Camel racing was also a favorite sport. Coderai remembers one between two sheikhs in the UAE developing from nothing, and taking place over an unmarked point to point. Nowadays, camel racing in Qatar involves a lot of money and has - arguably - more organisation. It is still a favourite of Bedouin - I have found that some other Arabs sometimes turn up their noses at camel racing, preferring instead to follow horse racing.

What is Qatar known for?

Qatar Airways

Qatar Airways is one of only six airlines awarded 5-star rating by Skytrax along with Cathay Pacific, Asiana Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Kingfisher Airlines.
Qatar Airways operates services across Africa, Central Asia, Europe, Far East, Indian subcontinent, Middle East, North America, South America and Oceania. It is so successful that some people would immediately think of their Airline company when Qatar is mentioned.

Doha Asian Games 2006 

The 15th Asian Games, held in Doha on 1-15 December, was broadcasted live on Eurosport and Eurosport 2. It was the first time the Asian Games, held every four years since 1951, was shown live in Europe. The opening ceremony has displayed their Arab culture to other countries. I feel that this event has helped to attract many tourists into Doha, Qatar. 

AFC Asian cup 2011 & World cup 2022

Qatar will be the host of both major soccer events in year 2011 and 2022. These events would boost the tourist arrivals to Qatar as they would attract plenty of soccer fans to watch live in the country.

Oil & Gas reserves

As oil & gas are very rare and will eventually be depleted, owning 15 billion barrels of oil definitely generate plenty of revenue for the Qatar economy. As mentioned earlier, Qatar is now one the highest GDP per capita countries due to the export of oil & gas from the reserves.


Disneyisation is a terminology created and used by Mr. Alan Bryman. It is a 'process by which the principles of the Disney theme parks are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as the rest of the world'. Theming, Hybrid Consumption, Merchandising, and Emotional Labour are the four major trends of Disneyisation.

Theming is an establishment of brand coherence and consistency across different environment.

Hybrid consumption is a general trend where the forms of consumption become interlocked with each other and increasingly hard to distinguish. The Souq Waqif is a renowned shopping destination for selling traditional garments, spices, handicrafts and souvenirs. The market has opened so many different types of cuisine restaurants to the extent where the destination tend to lose a bit of its identity. People used to visit Souq Waqif for purchase of traditional goods. Recently, this shopping destination has became a hotspot for workshops and art display.

Merchandising refers to the 'promotion and sale of goods in the form of or bearing copyrighted images and/or logos, including such products made under licence'. Qatar can exercise merchandising when hosting the Asian Cup 2011 & World Cup 2022 by making shirts and souvenirs with the logos. So after the event, when the tourists return to their home country, these merchandise products act as a promotional tool to the tourists' families and friends.

Emotional Labour is the 'act of expressing socially desired emotions during service transactions, which will directly attempts to influence the emotional state of the customer, and, indirectly, their attitude towards the product'. Qatar Airways has to be cheerful when providing services for the passengers so that the customers will be satisfied and able to enjoy themselves. At the same time, the Qatar Airways' crew will indirectly feel confident about their organisation.

Growth in Qatar tourism

Despite the fact that Qatar has enough oil & gas reserves to sustain their economy for the next few decades, the Qatar government is forward-looking and made plans for tourism growth. It is wise of them to develop their tourism rapidly so that they would catch up with Dubai's and it would be advantageous to them economically as they would have succeeded in building another 'pillar' for their economy.
Additionally, with globalisation factors like technological advancement and financial deregulations, more people can afford to travel abroad. Thus, this would provide good income for the economy especially when Dubai is one of the leading tourism and commerce destination.

Changes brought about by growth of Tourism in Qatar

Positive: May strengthen and revitalise Culture & traditions for tourist demand,
Negative: Culture erosion due to exposure to foreign culture (especially western culture)
Therefore measures like educating tourists need to be taken to reduce possibility of negative influence from tourists. If tourists disobey, penalties on tourists would be enforced.

Positive: Generate more revenue for the Qatar economy, more employment opportunities
Negative: Leakage of currency due to influx of Transnational Companies (TNCs)

Positive: Raised awareness about the environment due to the need to attract environmentally-conscious tourists
Negative: Pollution as it is inevitable during the construction of tourism infrastructure