Do you remember when you thought you knew everything about a country before you went, then discovered just how wrong you were? We all carry preconceptions and ideas about what a place will be like, but until we have been there we can never truly know a destination.
Sometimes those myths can stop us from discovering a truly magical place, so we’re going to bust some of the common things people get wrong about Qatar.
With incredible architecture, centuries-old traditions and world-beating shopping and luxury hotels, Qatar is well worth a look.
So don’t let the myths hold you back.
Myth 1: Doha is a dry town
While drinking alcohol is not a big part of the lives of locals, there are not as many restrictions on having a beer or wine as people think. Travellers can enjoy alcohol at a huge range of restaurants and hotels. So you can raise a glass to your new favourite place to have a sundowner.
Myth 2: There is precious little local wildlife
This little piece of the Middle East has an incredibly diverse marine ecosystem with bucket-list creatures like whale sharks, where you can witness one of the world’s largest populations of these giant creatures from April to September. You can also spot dugongs and migratory flamingos. Qatar is also home to three species of sea turtles.
Myth 3: Qatar is all just desert, right?
Wrong. Discover the Al Thakira mangrove forest, a vast swathe of natural greenery with a unique ecological gift. Due to the high salinity in the water, the local mangroves have what are called “pencil roots”, little hollow roots, or “snorkels”, that allow the plants to absorb water at high tide. Take a kayak and explore this natural wonder.
Myth 5: This is not a town for the sports lover
Sure, if you like high teas and haute couture, you might get something out of Qatar, but what if you are a sports nut? Well, for starters, Qatar is hosting the FIFA World Cup in 2022, making use of some of the country’s 19 football stadiums. But you can also go hot-air ballooning, sandboarding or dune bashing in a four-wheel drive. Then, by all means, have that high tea.
Myth 6: You have to cover up at the beach
You might see Qatari men rocking a thobe, the national dress of a long white shirt over loose white pants, or see women in a long black dress called an abayha. Both these options are very practical, cool and protective from the desert heat. But when travellers head to the beautiful beaches, there is no dress code. Wear what you want.
Myth 6: Nobody speaks English
Nobody, huh? Try 95 per cent of the population in Doha. But make sure you learn some Arabic, and it will be appreciated, as it is anywhere in the world you take off to.
Myth 7: There is no history, just glitzy hotels
The soaring skyscrapers of Doha complement the fantastic history; they don’t hide it. At Souq Waqif, you can stand on the spot where traders have wheeled and dealed for a century. The Al Zubarah Fort is a 20th Century fort used to ward off invaders and is now UNESCO World Heritage-listed. So too is the Inland Sea or Khor Al Adaid, where the sea touches the desert in one of the few places that this happens on our planet.
Myth 8: Qatar is unsafe
The opposite is true. Qatar was ranked the safest country in the world by Numbeo in 2020.
So don’t let what you don’t know hold you, or your clients, back from a visit to Qatar. This Middle East destination is one of the safest, easiest and most interesting places you can think of to kick-start the return of international travel.
And Qatar Airways has never stopped flying to Australia during the pandemic, making them one of the safest and most knowledgeable airlines when it comes to the return of air travel.
Find out more about Qatar: www.visitqatar.qa
Find out more about Qatar stopover packages: www.qatarairways.com/tradeportal/
Sign up to the Discover Qatar booking portal so you are stopover ready www.discoverqatar.qa/trade-partners/
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