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Qatar Holidays, Qatar Holiday Packages Overview
The barren peninsula of Qatar extends into the Persian Gulf, bordered on the landward end by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Its area may be very small, but the independent emirate is exceedingly wealthy, with one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, thanks to its oil and gas resources.
For most of the 20th century Qatar was a British protectorate, gaining independence in 1971, after which it became embroiled in territorial disputes with its neighbours and suffered civil strife, with the Emir being ousted by his son in a coup.In 1989 the country started issuing tourist visas, heralding a new era of opening its doors to visitors.
Tourism, despite the establishment of glitzy hotels, has still to take off in a big way, hampered as it is by the risky security situation in the Middle East. Qatar labours under a high threat of indiscriminate terrorist attacks against Western interests.
Whether visiting for business or pleasure (or a combination of the two), most travellers use the capital, Doha, as their base. Doha, formerly a quaint and busy pearl fishing village, is today one of the most important cities in the Middle East, a major trading centre. It has a large British and American expatriate population (the Al Udeid air base was headquarters for the US invasion of Iraq in 2003), which has moulded the city into an interesting blend of eastern and western culture and architecture.
Tourists tend to spend their time on the Doha Corniche, a palm-fringed public promenade that extends for four miles (7km) along the seafront, lined with five and six-star resort hotels, restaurants, shops, beaches and recreational areas. A short boat ride from the Corniche is Palm Tree Island, a great escape full of fun family amenities and a first class seafood restaurant. Doha also has its equivalent of Disney World: the Kingdom of Aladdin Theme Park is in the West Bay area. A major attraction for visitors is shopping, whether it is in traditional markets (souqs) or the plethora of massive ultra-modern malls that fill the city centre.
Those wanting to explore outside the city can undertake excursions to interesting towns, fishing villages, beautiful beaches, camel races, luxury resorts and the Almaha Sanctuary at Shahaniya where the near-extinct Arabian Oryx is being protected. The Oryx is the origin of the legend of the unicorn, and is Qatar’s national symbol, flying high on the tails of Qatar Airways jetliners.
Tourist Offices – Qatar Tourism Authority, Doha: +974 441 1555
Qatar offers ancient history, culture and tradition but with a modern twist. You can see ancient markets and places of worship on one street and luxury 5 star hotels on another.
As with many of the gulf states the standard of accommodation is magnificant and often situated near places of oustanding historical importance.
With a fantastic climate all year round Qatar can be enjoyed at any time. If you are looking to travel to somewhere a bit different with a fantastic climate and culture then Qatar is the place for you.