By A K Vijay
Doha – The last media lunch for Shop Qatar 2018 was held at Basta Restaurant in Mall of Qatar on January 30, with Mashal Shahbik, QTA’s Director of Festivals & Tourism Events, and officials from Qatar Development Bank, Mall of Qatar and entrepreneurs from Embrace Doha and Wrapping Station, fielding questions from the media during the informal gathering.
“We at Mall of Qatar take pride in having supported the Shop Qatar festival organised by Qatar Tourism Authority. We were involved at every stage of the event, right from the brainstorming sessions to the delivery of the event,” said Patrick Hage-Chahine, PR & Events Manager of Mall of Qatar.
In support of local entrepreneurs, Shop Qatar organisers erected 30 pop-up shops in Mall of Qatar, where small businesses can showcase their products and benefit from the high footfall generated by the festival, while simultaneously providing mall visitors an authentic Qatari experience.
Shop Qatar is also partnering with Qatar Development Bank to provide several of the pop-up shops to SMEs incubated and supported by the bank. Seventy-five different SMEs have been showcased at the pop-up shops. The products on display range from arts and crafts to perfumes, chocolates and gifts to clothing.
Mashal said that QTA was eager to organise each such festival differently, but showed inclination towards retaining the highly successful weekly theme format witnessed during Shop Qatar 2018. The events featuring celebrities proved to be a grand success, according to her and QTA was confident that it could attract the right target audience by selling tickets for the shows. The demographic profile of visitors at event venues has changed with more international visitors being drawn in.
The QTA official added that the presence of celebrities in Qatar and their visit to shopping centres and high-profile locations in Qatar was drawing the attention of celebrity fans and global audience to the event being held within the country. This was effectively projecting the image of Qatar, as a place to be visited that had numerous places of tourism interest.
Hamad Mejegheer, QDB’s Manager of Marketing and Development, while speaking to the media, lauded the role Shop Qatar 2018 had played in promoting Qatari entrepreneurs, and offering them avenues to showcase their products. Through its sponsorship of various initiatives to encourage local manufacturing and events to showcase locally made products, QDB has been at the forefront of the Qatar’s self-sufficiency movement.
Amal Al Shammari, Founder of Embrace Doha, and fashion-designing course student turned entrepreneur, Mariam Al Majid, who single-handedly runs a package wrapping business called Wrapping Station, also spoke to the media. Mariam has a pop-up shop at MoQ and has been successfully running the business along with her studies at Virginia Commonwealth University Qatar (VCUQ), since the last one-and-half years.
Amal’s Embrace Doha on the other hand operates as a cultural resource for people visiting and living in Qatar. Shop Qatar 2018 partnered with Embrace Doha to lead shopping tours through Souq Waqif, stopping along the way to sample and learn about spices, incense, traditional food, art and clothes.