Qatar Qatar

QATAR: Shoppers Haven

Visitors to Qatar are treated to extensive shopping options from the moment of their arrival up until their departure

thanks to the state-of-the-art Hamad International Airport (HIA)’s duty free area.

Spanning more than 25,000m2, Qatar Duty Free features over 100 retail outlets, including many leading brands, rivaling the world’s leading department stores and establishing the hub as a shopping destination in its own right.

A visionary new travel retail experience, the emporium offers a selection of bespoke concepts, along with a number of art installations.

“HIA prides itself on being an innovative exhibition space,” explained Badr Mohammed Al Meer, chief operating officer, HIA, describing the terminal as a public space that welcomes millions of people every year, hence, an ideal space to interact with art.”

Once in Doha, Villaggio welcomes visitors with a wide array of shopping and entertainment options.

From gondola rides, reminiscent of those in Venice, to the Via Domo luxury area and luxury cinemas, it is a destination in its own right. Adding to its already impressive offering, the centre is now gearing up to unveil its extension with a range of new brands.

The introduction of new outlets comes in response to the growing demand.

As Bitar revealed, at The Gate Mall for example, since its launch in 2011, annual footfall have showed significant increases year after year.

“We receive a great number of visitors from across the region, who are intrigued by the exclusive brands our mall houses,” explained Bitar, further divulging that in order to meet the preferences of shoppers, the management has carefully handpicked a selection of the finest designer labels in the world and is constantly in pursuit of new names.

Where there is demand, there will be supply, and demand is certainly present considering that according to a BCG report, the number of households in the country with private wealth of over USD1 million and above increased 3.7 percent in 2014, and by 2019, this figures is expected to surge 4.1 percent, creating a large market for the retail sector.

In light of these, it comes as no surprise that another gem is already rising in the heart of Doha.

The epitome of pure luxury, Al Hazm aims to redefine the meaning of high-end shopping by omitting facilities commonly found at other such locations, including food courts and franchise chains, and instead, focussing on customised services and top luxury brands.

Spanning over 105,000m2, Al Hazm is also an architectural marvel that mirrors the features of Milan’s famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Another much-anticipated project is the QAR5.4 billion (USD1.48 billion) Mall of Qatar, hailed as the first entertainment mall of its kind in the region, which, according to Rony Mourani, general manager, Mall of Qatar, will be a world-leading shopping and entertainment destination.

Spread over 500,000m2 of total built up space, with a gross leasable area of 256,000m2, the destination is expected to host an estimated 20 million visitors in its first year upon opening in August.

As Mourani disclosed, the mall will feature a number of luxury labels along with popular high-street brands, many of which will be new to the region, as well as what he described as one of the most innovative entertainment offers in the Middle East.

“Mall of Qatar is definitely taking the notion of shopping centres to a different level in terms of accessibility, parking, design, circulation and convenience,” claimed Mourani, adding that the destination will boast a full offer for all types of clientele.

“All in all, when you look at the product offering that we are providing, it will simply be one of the best malls in the world when it is launched, that will compare to no other in Qatar,” stated Mourani.

Leveraging the country’s extensive range of high-end outlets and the ever-growing popularity of shopping tourism, QTA works to promote the destination’s shopping and dining offerings through various events, such as the Qatar Summer Festival and the Qatar International Food Festival with the latter one being extended into a week-long programme this year, taking place at the end of the month.