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Football fever returns to Qatar with the AFC Asian Cup and a host of festive events

Following the immensely successful delivery of the FIFA World Cup 2022TM tournament in Qatar, which was voted the best this century, Qatar is gearing up to welcome the world once more with the AFC Asian Cup  2023TM from January 12 - February 10, 2024.


The AFC Asian Cup 2023TM demonstrates Qatar’s ongoing sporting legacy and showcases Qatar’s ability to host large-scale events and welcome visitors from across the globe with its world-class tourism infrastructure, which includes an award-winning airport  Hamad International Airport and national airline Qatar Airways, metro and tram network (which carried over 18.2 million passengers during the FIFA World Cup2022TM), inviting hotels, and leisure attractions. In addition, Qatar will be abuzz with some of the biggest events of the year during the AFC Asian Cup 2023TM, providing visitors and residents with a packed itinerary of things to do and see pre- and post- matches.


On this occasion, His Excellency, Mr. Saad Bin Ali Al-Kharji, Chairman of Qatar Tourism, said: "We are pleased to host the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023TM this year, with its events extending from 12th January to 10th February. Visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy exciting times and explore many tourist attractions in Qatar. Qatar Tourism will offer a rich array of exciting events and festivals that will amuse both Qatar's residents and its visitors. The kickoff of the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023TM coincides with the organization of various festivals and events, including Shop Qatar, Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE), Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), Qatar Kite Festival, and International Horticultural Doha Expo 2023, which continues until late March. Additionally, there will be a series of musical and entertainment events that together form an unforgettable and exceptional experience."


He added, "Over the past years, Qatar has successfully become a distinguished sports tourism destination, due to its advanced infrastructure, sports facilities, and medical facilities. This is in addition to the diversity of sports events it hosts, especially FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. Qatar has demonstrated to the world its hospitality, exceptional organization, complemented by the presence of luxurious tourist facilities and the picturesque landscapes that characterize the destination."



KEY EVENTS

Shop Qatar 2024

Shop Qatar will be running from January 1 to 27, 2024, with incredible discounts in stores, raffle draws, and entertainment spread out in malls. There are a total of 13 malls and shopping districts participating, which residents can explore, with 100s of shops featuring different offers and entertainment.

 

Qatar International Food Festival 2024

The all-time fan favourite, Qatar International Food Festival (QIFF), is set to return on February 7 – 17 at Family Zone Expo at Al Bidda Park this time. With one of the broadest ranges of cuisine in one space, QIFF is one of the most popular events in Qatar, with over 100 dishes for people to choose from. Head over to the QIFF after a game to satisfy your cravings and socialise with other food enthusiasts.

 

Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition 2024 DJWE

The Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition 2024(DJWE) will be held at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Center from February 5 to 11, 2024, with unique displays and products. Immerse yourself in the highest-quality, most aesthetic and luxurious jewellery at this exhibition.


Doha Expo 2023

One of the main events of 2023 continuing into 2024 is the Doha Expo 2023, which will run until March 28. Doha Expo 2023 has been a platform for people in Qatar to engage with local and international agricultural organisations. It is the first ever A1 international horticultural exhibition in the MENA region. Residents can enjoy several other events at the Expo as well, such as immersing themselves in virtual reality, participating in innovative workshops, exploring the botanic garden, or simply sipping on some coffee in the Cultural Zone.


Museums and Exhibitions

The Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art is hosting several exhibitions until March 2024, to satiate one’s curiosity of arts and culture. Some of these include Mehdi Moutashar: Introspection as Resistance, Distilled Lessons: Abstraction in Arab Modernism, Cities Under Quarantine: The Mailbox Project, and De/Constructed Meanings.


Close to Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium is the Sheikh Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani Museum in Al Samriya. Fans who have some time to spare pre- or post-match can learn about His Excellency Sheikh Faisal, one of the most influential and revolutionary businessmen in Qatar. The museum boasts traditional Syrian craftsmanship, artefacts dating back to the Jurassic age, antique automobiles, and rustic carpets, to name a few.


Nature escapes

Balancing football cheers with moments of solitude, fans can take respite at the Aspire Park, Qatar’s biggest park with lush green spaces, walking tracks and cozy cafes. In Education City, there is Oxygen Park, which has walking tracks and football fields to practice, and the Qu’aranic Botanic Garden, a unique garden which features plants mentioned in the Quran and Sunnah.


Alternatively, if you are looking for a nearby place to relax and rejuvenate post-matches, you can also visit the Heenat Salma Farm, which is a 20-minute drive away from the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium. The farm offers organic products, crafts, creative workshops and vocational training, and wellness spas, making it a perfect spot for a relaxing weekend retreat, or simply a visit to stimulate your artistic side.


Concerts and Music

For those with the appreciation of the art that is music, Qatar is hosting various music artists across three locations in the country. At Hotel Park in West Bay, visitors and residents can enjoy Arab singer Wafeek Habeeb’s music on January 17, electronic music by ‘Swedish House Mafia’ on January 19, performances by the renowned band ‘Backstreet Boys’ on January 26, and internationally-recognised pop band ‘OneRepublic’ on February 1. For tickets, visit: https://tickets.virginmegastore.me/qa 


At the Katara Ampitheatre, music lovers can watch performances by Arab singers Modi and Rehab Al Shamrani on January 27, Lebanese artist Najwa Karam on February 1, Moroccan-French performer Amine Boudchar on February 8, and Egyptian singer Amal Maher on February 11.  For tickets visit: https://www.eventat.com/home 


The Qatar National Convention Centre will be hosting the established artist Nassif Zeytoun on February 3.


Hello Asia

As the pleasant winter weather sets on the country, the Lusail Boulevard and Plaza is welcoming fans for its  ‘Hello Asia’ festival which will take place on January 10– February 10, 2024. The Boulevard is getting ready to be decked with stunning lighting, cultural flags and décor, and F&B kiosks to entertain and encourage fans to show support for their countries’ teams. There will be 24 country zones, such as Qatar, China, India, South Korea, and Lebanon to name a few. Fans are welcome to enjoy entertainment, and to show support for the national teams through this artistic parade and exhibit at Lusail.


Modern Architecture

Qatar is no stranger to modern architecture. Fans headed to Education City Stadium will get a close-up look with the Qatar National Library (QNL) which is structured as a shell made by folding two pieces of paper, or the contemporary design of the Education City Mosque, Minaretein. Both QNL and Minartein are worth exploring on the inside with the library’s café, 3D printing, music studio, and reading nooks, and the mosque’s guided-tour. At Al Wakrah is the Abu Manaratain Mosque, with unconventional architecture from the 1940s to appreciate.


Attractions

The Meryal Waterpark recently opened at Qetaifan Island North, with rides designed to reflect the oil and gas industry’s omnipresence in Qatari culture. One of its rides, the Icon Tower is world’s highest tower of its kind. The annual Winter Wonderland Lusail is now operating on Al Maha Island, near the Lusail Stadium, with 50 rides which encompass 25 family rides, 15 children’s rides, 10 thrill rides, the 395-rollercoaster, and the 150 ft tall Ferris Wheel.


Night Markets and Bazaars

Within the premise of the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium is the Duhail Night Market, Qatar’s pioneering night market, with the finest selection of popular finger foods, coffee, and karak. In Al Waab, there is ‘The Downtown’, a new night market at Aspire Park offering different drive-thru restaurants and cafés, where visitors can snack on delicious finger foods and of course, coffee.


During the weekend, residents can explore the Torba Farmer’s Market, held every Saturday, in Education City. The market offers local, artisanal products and fresh food for visitors to enjoy. Near Al Janoub Stadium you will find the Souq Al Wakrah, where you can take a stroll by the sea in the serene winter weather, indulge in a range of cuisine, primarily seafood, and explore shops selling traditional Arabian products.


For Animal Lovers

A 20-minute drive away from Ahmed bin Ali Stadium is Al Shahaniya Camel Racetrack, which hosts multiple camel racing events throughout the year. Here, you can enjoy both races and camel training, the latter of which takes place every morning at the centre. Al Shaqab, near Education City Stadium, is also a popular destination for equestrian fans to watch horseback riding events, post-matches. In addition, the Katara International Arabian Horse Festival will run from February 1 till 11, and will showcase different purebred horses in competition with each other. These horses are known to symbolize strength and pride in Arab culture.


Sports

The World Aquatics Championships 2024 is taking place from February 2 – 18, 2024 at Aspire Dome, Old Doha Port, and Hamad Aquatic Center. This tournament will be hosting 2, 600 top athletes, from over 190 countries, for 75 medal events, with an opportunity for athletes to quality for Olympic Games Paris 2024. Sports include swimming (including open water and artistic), diving and high diving, and water polo. Residents can witness top-class aquatic performances from athletes from all over the world.


For further inspiration, follow Qatar Calendar at https://visitqatar.com/intl-en/events-calendar.   


Book your tickets to experience the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023TM tickets here: https://asiancup2023.qa/en 

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