Teams have started arriving in Qatar ahead of the World Cup this weekend. There are many reports and complaints coming from Qatar; however, these challenges cannot take away the shine and the economic benefit which must be the focus. Qatar Tourism revealed the opening of more than 20 hotels, resorts and new tourist destinations in the country ahead of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, stressing that these projects and tourist attractions will be ready to receive fans in the tournament. Qatar Tourism stated that 2022 represents an unprecedented year in the process of development witnessed by the State of Qatar, its transformation into a global tourist destination, and its aspiration to increase the number of its visitors to six million annually by 2030. The World Cup will be the driving force to achieving their ambitious goal. It still remains a fact that sports drive tourism, and investing in the right infrastructure delivers result. This is a proven fact be it the World Cup, the AFCON, Olympics, the Champion League, the Rugby World Cup, just to mention a few. Qatar is taking maximum advantage by promoting their tourist attractions to visitors. Ghanaian spectators who will be in Qatar will need to take advantage and not only attend the games, but also get involved in tourism.
Below are some of the attractions visitors can see.
Al Maha Island
Al Maha Island features six high-end restaurants including Zuma, LPM, Billionaire and Carbone as well as other eateries and attractions such as Nammos Qatar beach club and Lusail Winter Wonderland. The island also features Al Maha Drive, a unique driveway experience reserved only for supercars and classic cars.
Lusail Winter Wonderland
Visitors to Lusail Winter Wonderland will be able to relax on the beach in the sun while enjoying festive games, rides, live entertainment, and food and drink. Lusail Winter Wonderland promises to bring ‘winter’ magic to the Middle East.
Located in the heart of Lusail, this shopping, commercial and residential area has the bold ambition to become the Champs-Élysées of the Middle East. Lusail Boulevard opened last week ahead of the Qatar World Cup with a three-day family-friendly festival.
West Bay North Beach Project
An expected launch by November 20, in readiness for visitors to the Qatar World Cup, will see the highly anticipated launch of Qatar Tourism’s West Bay North Beach Project, with the initial launch comprising three new beaches in the heart of Doha.
974 Beach Club
Located next to the iconic 974 Stadium, this beach club features a five-star beach-side experience with private bungalows, water-based activities, beach sports, luxury retail outlets, food and beverage kiosks, a big screen, live DJ sets and other cultural activities.
La Mar Beach Club
Recently opened in October, this luxury beach lounge in the Inter-Continental Doha Beach & Spa overlooks unparalleled views of the West Bay skyline. Guests can swim in the waters while enjoying cabanas, sunbeds and private loungers.
Museum of Islamic Art
Qatar’s iconic Museum of Islamic Art reopened to the public on October 5 ahead of the World Cup following a year-long facilities enhancement project. The re-imagination of its permanent collection of more than 1,000 objects will create a new visitor-focused layout and storyline, allowing the museum to showcase its world-renowned exhibits.
Fuwairit Kite Beach
Fuwairit Kite Beach opened in October. It is nestled along a natural lagoon and north of Doha. The modern resort has consistent winds, making it ideal for kite-surfing.
St. Regis Marsa Arabia Island
The exclusive island getaway in the heart of Porto Arabia opened in October. The hotel offers bespoke services and exquisite culinary offerings on a Mediterranean-styled island.
Corinthia Yacht Club
Located on the waters of Porto Arabia in The Pearl-Qatar, the architecture is designed to echo the sails of traditional Qatari dhows. The private club, set to open before the end of 2022, will offer exclusive membership for yacht owners and residents by invitation only.
Visiting some of these attractions will bring immense benefit to yourself. According to a study by Amit Kumar, Matthew A. Killingsworth, and Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University, the money spent on doing something (called ‘experiential purchases’) will leave you with a longer-lasting sense of happiness than money spent on having something (called ‘material purchases’). The study says that: “Waiting for experiences tends to be more positive than waiting for possessions”. And, it goes on to say that: “People derive more happiness from the anticipation of experiential purchases, and that waiting for an experience tends to be more pleasurable and exciting than waiting to receive a material good”. So be happy and have fun while in Qatar.
Furthermore, in a randomised controlled trial conducted by Austrian researchers and published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, one of the many great travel benefits is that it can reduce stress levels and anxiety. The researchers found that even just one short-term vacation (~3 days in length) “independent of the mode, has large, positive and immediate effects on perceived stress, recovery, strain and well-being”. Furthermore, the beneficial effects last quite a while after you return home. “The effects can still be detected at 30 days (recovery) and 45 days (well-being and strain) post-vacation.”
Additionally, Mark Twain said: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime”. When you visit a new place, meet new people, and learn about a new culture, whether through group travel or when travelling solo, the benefit to your life is immense, but it also benefits your friends, family, and other loved ones. Not only will you get to experience new things, but you’ll also bring what you learn back to your school, workplace and hometown.
Finally, According to a study by the Global Commission on Ageing and Transamerica Centre for Retirement Studies, in partnership with the U.S. Travel Association, travel decreases the risks of heart attacks and makes your brain healthier. The study determined that men who take an annual vacation are 30 percent less likely to die from heart disease, among other findings. “Foreign experiences increase both cognitive flexibility and depth and integrativeness of thought, the ability to make deep connections between disparate forms,” Adam Galinsky, a professor at Columbia Business School, tells The Atlantic. Cognitive flexibility plays a major role in overall creativity, defined as the ability for a person to be able to entertain various ideas and viewpoints one after the other.
Philip Gebu is a Tourism Lecturer. He is the C.E.O of FoReal Destinations Ltd., a Tourism Destinations Management and Marketing Company based in Ghana and with partners in many other countries. Please contact Philip with your comments and suggestions. Write to [email protected] / [email protected]. Visit our website at www.forealdestinations.com or call/WhatsApp +233(0)244295901/0264295901.Visist our social media sites Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: FoReal Destinations