The moon’s set to shine on Qatar’s astro-tourism initiatives

The sky is the limit, for travellers seeking a luxurious open-air adventure amid Qatar’s evocative desert landscape.
Super moon, qatar, astro tourism
The recent supermoon in late May marked the launch of the new astro-tourism plans that could entice couples as well as a new demographic of traveller – the knowledge-hungry geek. Image: Courtesy QNTC.

If you thought Qatar was all about oil and glitzy buildings, think again. How about a romantic camel ride over a moonlit sand dune with a special someone? If this is a tough act to beat, imagine a regal Arabian glamping experience under the stars. You can actually spot your lucky stars in perfect alignment under the darkly enigmatic desert sky! An astronomer is at your service to ensure that you make the most of the excellent visibility afforded by the seemingly endless horizon. Just to up the oomph quotient a bit more, a chef curates delectable Bedouin barbecues at the campsite.

Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) has tied up with premium tour operator, Gulf Adventures to offer innovative astro-tourism experiences when Qatar re-opens its borders for tourism. Tourists can book the ‘Arabian Nights’ packages through Gulf Adventures. To offer greater flexibility amid the pandemic, the packages are redeemable until April 30, 2022. The packages are in line with the Qatar Clean programme to protect visitors from COVID-19.

Super moon, qatar, astro tourism
Qatar is now showcasing the romance of the desert sky by night. Image: Courtesy QNTC.

Berthold Trenkel, Chief Operating Officer of QNTC, said, “Qatar’s desert is the perfect spot for astronomy enthusiasts to observe the dark and starry skies. The packages will make for unforgettable experiences that travel-lovers can look forward to when we welcome them back to the country.”

Guests can opt to stay at the five-star Marsa Malaz Kempinski. Alternatively, they can sleep under the star-spangled sky in an Arabian-style royal tent at Regency Sealine Camp, which offers modern facilities in the heart of the desert landscape. What sweetens the deal further is that the camp overlooks Khor al Adaid, a unique inland sea, recognised as a UNESCO site.

The desert sky may be the main draw for discerning tourists. But memorable visits – to the majestic Al Zubarah Fort or the Souq Waqif, an authentic Middle-Eastern marketplace – can hardly be passed over. If the city bug still gnaws, there is the option to take in panoramic views of the Doha skyline at the spectacular Torch 360 restaurant.

The QNTC seeks to position Qatar as a destination where cultural authenticity meets modernity.

QNTC’s work is guided by the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy (QNTSS), which seeks to diversify the country’s tourism offering and increase visitor spending. Since launching QNTSS, Qatar has welcomed over 14 million visitors. In 2017, the Qatar government designated tourism as a priority sector in pursuit of a more diverse economy and more active private sector.

Read more.

TG Conversations: Karthik Viswanathan, Regional Manager – Indian subcontinent, Qatar Airways

There’s a beautiful meteor shower lighting up the sky this May

5 reasons why AlUla is Saudi Arabia’s hottest heritage destination