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Posted On: 31 December 2018 11:27 am
Updated On: 3 March 2020 11:54 am

2018 timeline of the top news and events in Qatar!

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Last July, we brought you a list of the top things that shook Qatar during the first 6 months of 2018. In the said article, we rounded up the news and events that we think defined Qatar as it approaches its first year into the blockade. And although we made the list as comprehensive as we could, we still left a note which says:

"There's another half that's waiting for us to deal with, conquer, and celebrate."

Well... if you're one of our many readers who anticipated for the sequel, then you're in the right place!

With this, we bring you a timeline of the most important news and events that took place in Qatar over the second half of 2018. Whether it's sports related or a record-breaking attempt, it's always worth scrolling all the way down to get yourself informed on the news and events that made Qatar wiser and stronger!

Check out the first half of 2018 report HERE.

Disclaimer: This round-up doesn't include blockade-related developments as it's our legacy to always focus on the bright and positive things.

Happy reading!


Second half of 2018 in Qatar

Qatar Fan Zone for FIFA World Cup 2018 sparks excitement!

The Qatar Fan Zone (QFZ) at the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena brought Doha-based football fans mounting excitement with a robust line-up of live entertainment and activities for the entire FIFA World Cup 2018 season! The QFZ has welcomed more than 70,000 visitors during its 30-day run.

Countdown to 2022 kicks off!

Following a month of intense football fever, the QFZ has wrapped up the carnival-like activities at the Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena. The conclusion of the month-long sports event then paved way to the 4-year countdown till Qatar becomes the very first Arab country to host the prestigious and much-awaited 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Summer Entertainment City opens at DECC!

Visitors of all ages and interests experienced exciting offerings spread out over the expansive ground floor of the Doha Exhibition & Convention Center for Summer Entertainment City—Qatar's largest indoor theme park! More than 75 gaming experiences, 40 food outlets, a Summer Shopping Souq, and a dedicated football Fan Zone all gathered under one roof for this one-of-a-kind go-to-place for the whole family!

Mowasalat waives booking charges!

Telephone booking charge within Doha city per trip was QR5, and booking charge to Hamad International Airport was QR8. Passengers don't need to pay these additional charges since July 15, 2018. Mowasalat had earlier said that technology service charge was meant to cover expenses of Internet connectivity through which taximeters of Karwa cabs were connected with Karwa centre.

Qatar named 'safest road' in the Middle East

Qatar, according to Brigadier Muhammad Abdullah Al Maliki, Secretary of National Traffic Safety Committee, stands at number one among Middle Eastern countries in regards to traffic safety. The average deaths in road traffic incidents in Qatar last year were 5.4 per 100,000 persons, a figure far below than the world average of 17.4 per 100,000 persons.

First 5G network launched in Qatar!

Ooredoo announced that its the first operator in the world to launch a live 5G network on the 3.5GHz spectrum band. The first Ooredoo 5G site was accomplished just days after Ooredoo’s new 5G Commercial Core Network was activated. The telecommunication company’s 5G network is the first commercially available 5G network in the world and is an important technological breakthrough for the telecommunications industry worldwide.


Second half of 2018 in Qatar

Team Qatar wins big at 2018 Asian Games!

After two weeks of spectacular performances, Team Qatar returned to Doha with 13 medals all-in-all. Six of these are gold, four silvers, and three bronze. The success of Team Qatar goes beyond simply the medals that they've won. Qatar's mighty athlete delegation is continuing to grow at each Games, and they had athletes competing in new sports such as basketball 3x3, Air sports and triathlon for the first time. They've also achieved more top-10 finishes than prior Asian Games.

Qatar donates $5 million to flood-hit Keralites

Qatar's Amir HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has allocated $5m for the relief of victims of flood caused by heavy rains and monsoon in the Indian state of Kerala. The allocated amount also assisted in sheltering of those who lost their homes due to natural calamity. Moreover, HH The Amir sent out a cable of condolences to HE President of the Republic of India Ram Nath Kovind on the victims of the floods which swept the State of Kerala, wishing the injured a speedy recovery.

Qatar among Newsweek's 'Top 50 Cleanest' countries in the world!

American weekly magazine and website Newsweek listed Qatar as the cleanest country in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and although we weren't part of the top half, Qatar is still placed in a considerably reasonable 32nd spot beating Schengen states such as Slovenia (#34) and Czech Republic (#33).


Second half of 2018 in Qatar

Registration for 2022 volunteers met with record-breaking numbers!

The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has officially opened the link for people from Qatar, region, and the world to register as volunteer to support preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar. Within first four hours of the launch, more than 12,000 people signed up. Latest count is estimating approximately 17,000 registrants all-in-all, 1,000 from Gulf countries which have broken off all diplomatic and travel ties with Qatar. Volunteers will contribute towards numerous Qatar 2022 milestones, including stadium launches and test events.

Qatari climbers scale highest peak in Europe!

An expedition team from Qatar summited Mount Elbrus in Southern Russia, the highest mountain in Europe, on August 28. It took six days of preparation for the team to get acclimatised to the climate and ready the body and mind to do the extremely difficult climb to the highest point of 5,642m. Part of the group’s mission is to promote the importance of mental health in coordination with Ministry of Health and also to promote Qatar-Russia Year of Culture 2018.

Qatar named 'Most Open Middle Eastern Country for VISAS'

Qatar has become the "most open country" in the Middle East and the 8th most open in the world in terms of visa facilitation, according to the World Tourism Organisation’s (UNWTO) recently updated visa openness rankings. The high ranking reflects a string of VISA facilitation measures introduced by Qatar, including allowing nationals of some 88 countries to enter Qatar visa-free and free-of-charge. As a result, Qatar’s openness score has leapt by 71.3 points since 2014, when it ranked 177th.

New permanent residency programme for Qatar expats put into law!

The Amir H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani issued Law No. 10 of 2018 on permanent residency which is effective once published in the official gazette. Under certain specific rules and regulations, expatriates are now permitted to obtain permanent residency permits in Qatar.

Exit permit for expats under Labour Law scrapped!

The Amir H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani issued Law No. 13 of 2018, amending certain provisions of the Law No. 21 of 2015 regulating the entry, exit and residency of expatriates in Qatar. The updated law states that migrant workers in Qatar under the Labour Law will no longer have to obtain exit permits in order to leave the country temporarily or for good within the duration of the work contract.

World's first-ever 5G-powered Aerial Taxi flies in Qatar!

Last September, Ooredoo tested the power and speed of Ooredoo 5G with Smart City technology that will be available in the future. Many world-first technologies, including an Aerial Taxi, 5G Bus, 5G houseboat and 5G drone delivery and security systems have been showed during an event at The Pearl-Qatar.


Second half of 2018 in Qatar

Electric bus hits Qatar roads!

The Ministry of Transport and Communications has started the pilot testing of electric buses in Qatar. This comes within the Ministry’s ongoing endeavors to provide eco-friendly and sustainable transport modes that help reduce carbon emissions from public transit.

First Qatar Visa Center branch opens in Colombo!

Qatari authorities launched the very first overseas Qatar Visa Center in the Sri Lankan capital on October 11, 2018, in a series of similar centers to be opened in eight more countries in the months to come. This initiative comes as part of simplifying the procedures of expatriates’ recruitment and to preserve the rights of all parties involved in recruitment.

First successful separation of conjoined twins in Qatar

Doctors at Qatar’s first specialist women’s and children’s hospital, Sidra Medicine, have successfully separated a conjoined twins, marking a first for the country. The surgery establishes an alternative for patients who previously had limited choices for the successful treatment and care of complex pediatric diseases in the region.

Heavy rain triggers severe flooding in major parts of Qatar

The rains have unleashed its full force and fury mid-October as most parts of the country witnessed heavy rain accompanied with thunder and lightning. Waterlogging was also reported from a several areas which paved way to unimaginable traffic in major Qatar roads. The amount of rainfall that Qatar received on that day is equivalent to the average rainfall that a country can endure for one year.

Qatar's friendliest community website celebrates 10th anniversary!

Members of the press, various Embassy delegates, our valued friends and sponsors, and ILQ's fans from all walks of life convened at the posh Mondrian Hotel Doha for one reason—to celebrate ILoveQatar.Net's 10th birthday! Despite the rain, the venue was still packed with people who've been with ILQ since its inception.


Second half of 2018 in Qatar

International superstar JLo leads grand opening of Doha Festival City!

The grand opening of the region’s favourite leisure and retail destination, Doha Festival City, was commemorated recently and it featured a special appearance from singer and actress Jeniffer Lopez. The milestone marks the opening of more than 400 stores, including flagship brands ACE and Harvey Nichols, which opened earlier this year.

Hospitality Qatar 2018 sees more than 7,000 visitors!

Hospitality Qatar 2018, which hosted the first ever conference on the ‘Future of Tourism in Qatar’ in partnership with the National Tourism Council (NTC), gave participants new insights on Qatar’s tourism developments. As one of the region’s largest hospitality and tourism event, various activities were held at Hospitality Qatar which ended successfully and delivered an exceptional experience over the three days to 188 exhibitors and around 7,000 visitors.

Dhow Festival kicks off at Katara!

Seasoned Italian artisans hailing from former ancient coastal villages of Italy came to Qatar to demonstrate long-held reputation of excellence in traditional handicrafts which inspired world-famous designer products to mark Italian Embassy’s inaugural participation at Katara Traditional Dhow Festival.

Al Enna winter camp opens at Sealine

Al Enna is a tourism development project that aims to enhance the winter camping experience in Qatar while also protecting the environment, and ensuring public safety across the country. A pilot project, Al Enna developed the Sealine and Inland Sea regions to further bring extra flavour to families and group of friends who are seeking to make the most out of their winter desert experience in Qatar which is ongoing until the 31st of March 2019.

Museum of Islamic Art celebrates 1st decade

The Museum of Islamic Art (MIA) marked its tenth year anniversary celebrations with the official opening of the ‘Syria Matters’ exhibition on November 21, 2018. The art display, which will be on display to the public until 30 April 2019, sheds light on Syria’s rich architectural and cultural history.


First-ever Lights Festival in Qatar attracts crowd!

Qatar's biggest and first international Light Festival was held at Lusail Marina in early December and it illuminated the Lusail Marina Eastern Promenade for three days, turning it into a spectacular fusion of culture, vibrant colours, and artistic sculptures.

Second annual Burger Festival delights foodies!

The five-day festival, organized by Cosette Solutions, featured the best burger restaurants and home businesses in the country in addition to a special section hosting 10 local coffee shops and dessert outlets as an addition to this year's festival.

Sixth Ajyal Youth Film Festival a big hit!

The sixth edition of the Ajyal Film Festival, the annual cinema event by the Doha Film Institute, marked a colourful opening at Katara Cultural Village. Ajyal's 2018 edition was held with an assortment of activities including film screenings, the insightful Ajyal Talks, and family-oriented activities at the Ajyal Creativity Hub.

Qatar population reaches all-time high

Qatar is one of the most attractive and culturally-diverse countries in the region. In spite of the Saudi-led blockade, Qatar proved to be a hot spot for professionals from around the globe. And the latest report released by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics demonstrates the truth as Qatar’s population reached a new all-time high of more than 2.75mn people at the end of November.

Asian Cup trophy lands in Qatar!

The 2019 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Cup will be the 17th edition of the AFC Asian Cup, the quadrennial international men's football championship in Asia organised by the AFC itself. It will be held in the UAE from the 5th January to February 1 next year. It was 4th of December when its iconic trophy arrived in Doha, with several die-hard football fans having the rare chance to take a selfie with it!

'See You In 2022' painting enters Guiness

The Police College entered the Guinness Book of World Records by creating a football model 'See You in 2022' that symbolises the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar with the participation of 10,371 citizens and residents painting 33,600 wooden pieces of mosaic.

Qatar's first planetarium opens!

The Katara Cultural Village Foundation officially unveiled Qatar’s first-of-its-kind high-tech planetarium coinciding with the celebrations of Qatar National Day. Named Al Thuraya Planetarium, the newly-launched exhibition caters to all age groups as it has some interactive features that give visitors knowledge about astronomy in an interesting way.

Second Flag Relay unites nation

The second edition of Flag Relay was an extraordinary show of unity, pride and inspiration in celebration of the maroon flag and Qatar’s National Day. More than 1,000 people from all walks of life took part in Flag Relay 2018, including current and former Team Qatar athletes, ambassadors, diplomatic core, nearly 800 schoolchildren, 10 cancer survivors, as well as hundreds of participants from the public.

Qatari flag reaches South Pole!

Qatar-based Ultra Endurance Running athlete Hichame Moubarak whose aim is to conquer four of the most inhospitable deserts on Earth—the hottest, windiest, driest and coldest—in exchange for clean drinking water has reached Antarctica's South Pole while he proudly waves the Qatari flag.

Qatar quits OPEC!

Qatar was the first country to join OPEC after the five founding nations—Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Now, it’s the first Middle Eastern nation to leave the group. Qatar is OPEC’s smallest oil producer with around 600,000 barrels per day (bpd) against the cartel’s total output of roughly 33 million bpd. Qatar accounts for less than 2% of total OPEC’s output, so its withdrawal may not have a notable consequence.

New Qatar tax laws for 2019 revealed!

Qatar is one of the few tax-free countries in the world, and has yet to implement Value Added Tax (VAT), income tax, capital tax or wealth tax. However, there has been a lot of talk about taxes in Qatar in recent times along with the enforcement of VAT which is basically a consumption tax added to all sales and goods.

What top news or events did we miss? Can you add more entries to this list? And what are you most looking forward to for 2019? Drop us a line in the comments below and also, don't forget to like and share this article—it keeps us going!