As we wrap up 2019, we look back at some of our favorite highlights this year. 2019 is a remarkable year for Qatar as it fills with glories and achievements with hope for a bright future, peace, accomplishment, and success. Scroll all the way down to take a look at the top stories of 2019.
A new excise tax scheme on certain goods as part of a drive to limit consumption of such consumer items, while raising government funds for public services was announced in the general budget of 2019 that came into force from January 1.
The excise tax was imposed on carbonated drinks (50% rate) and tobacco products and energy drinks (100%), among other items that fall under excise goods.
H.H. the Amir issued Law No. 1 of 2019 regulating the investment of the non-Qatari capital in economic activity. The law is effective and shall be published in the official gazette. The law opens the way for foreign investors to own 100 percent ownership in all sectors, as well as support for investors’ entry into the Qatari market.
Qatar produced the most famous moment in its sporting history on February 1, 2019, by beating four-time champion Japan 3-1 in the Asian Cup final. The football team was greeted by the country’s ruler and hundreds of thousands of fans upon returning to Doha.
Every year, Qatar runs a cultural exchange programme that aims to convey Qatar to an international audience. 2019 was the Qatar-India Year of Culture that provided a platform for the audiences in Qatar and India to explore their cultural similarities, as well as celebrate their differences. Click the link to know What is Year of Culture in Qatar!
The grand opening of Qatar’s very own National Museum happened on March 27 and it was opened to the public immediately the day after (28 March 2019). Designed by Jean Nouvel, the multifaceted structure resembling a giant desert rose sits across from the bustling Doha Corniche. It gives a voice to the unique story of Qatar and its people from the earliest times to the present day and onwards towards its future.
See more pictures of the museum here: see how the National Museum of Qatar looks like in and out!
Watch the video of the museum here: Video tour of The National Museum of Qatar
The Ministry of Municipality and Environment opened a new park in Al Shahaniya area. The Desert Park has a mini zoo with about 8 different types of animals like oryx and gazelle housed in the park.
Read more here: Desert Park in Al Shahaniya: A new destination for outdoor enthusiasts in Qatar
Qatar's first-ever underground railway system started its operations, connecting major locations within easy and convenient reach!
Red line opens: 8 May
Gold Line opens: 21 November
Greenline opens: 10 December
Read here to get answers for your Frequently Asked Questions about the Doha Metro!
And if you want to know more, here are the Doha Metro train and Metrolink bus timings so you won't get left behind.
Located in the southern city of Al Wakrah, the 40,000-capacity Al Janoub Stadium opened on 16 May 2019 with the Amir Cup final. Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakra is the first stadium of the 2022 Qatar World Cup to be fully built and the second to be ready to host the FIFA World Cup following the announcement of opening Khalifa International Stadium in May 2017.
Read more here: Al Janoub Stadium: The first Qatar 2022 World Cup fully built stadium
Asian Champions Qatar participated in Copa America - the world’s one of the famous and oldest continental tournaments. The Copa American 2019 held in Brazil from June 14 to July.
Qatar Airways have won four prestigious prizes at this year’s 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards, including the highest accolade of ‘World’s Best Airline’ – becoming the only airline in the competition’s history to win it five times (2011, 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2019).
Read more here: Qatar Airways wins 'Best Airline of the Year' for the fifth time!
Prime Minister and Interior Minister H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani inaugurated Al Daayen Naval Base in Semaisma area in northern Qatar on 14 July 2019.
The total area of the base is 639,800sqm, while the built-up area is 143,164 sqm divided into 25 buildings. It includes all the advanced requirements for marine security, which will contribute to securing the maritime borders of the State and tightening the security control and protection of all its coasts by conducting maritime patrols to prevent infiltration and smuggling of prohibited materials and control maritime violations, as well as providing marine services to citizens and residents at the same level in term of performance efficiency.
Read more here: MOI, Prime Minister inaugurate Al Daayen Naval Base
On 3 Sep 2019, the official emblem of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 was unveiled in Doha - marking another milestone in the country’s journey to hosting the mega football’s showpiece event. The emblem was also unveiled simultaneously in 24 other major cities across the world including London, Johannesburg, Mexico City, Mumbai, Paris, and Seoul.
Read more here: 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar logo unveiled for all the world to see!
H.H. the Amir attended the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA 74), that held in New York from 17 – 30 September.
On Monday 23 September, His Highness the Amir of Qatar spoke at the United Nations Climate Action Summit. During the summit he announced that the State of Qatar is committed to contributing $100 million for the support of small developing island states and least developed states to build the capacity to counter climate change. During his speech at the Summit, His Highness further mentioned that the State of Qatar is committed to organising an environmentally-friendly FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
On Tuesday 24 September, His Highness the Amir addressed the General Assembly through a speech discussing several topics – including Qatar’s role in mediating international conflicts, promoting human rights both domestically and abroad, as well as the country’s commitment to ensuring global peace and security.
H.H. the Amir also announced the State of Qatar’s contribution of $100m for the support of small developing island states and the least developed states to deal with the climate change
The 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships 2019 took place from September 27 to October 6 in Doha. Over 10 days, 24 different events held for male and female athletes.
Hamad Port has set a new Guinness World Record as the deepest artificial basin ever made on Earth. Hamad Port's basin is 4km long, 700 meters wide and 17 meters deep. Basin construction took about two and a half years of excavation, during which over 6900 tons of explosives were used to challenge the drafts - with full commitment to preserving wildlife and marine life - to extract more than 44.5 million cubic meters of dredged material, which was later used in other construction works at the project, resulting in huge savings
On October 24th, 2019, Qatar became the first Arab country ever to host the annual UN Day celebrations. The Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations partnered with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, the organizing body for the soccer World Cup in 2022 host a cultural showcase that brought the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra to the UN General Assembly.
The event’s theme, “Building Prosperity for All through Culture, Education, Gender Equality, Sports and Sustainability,” encapsulated many of the values and tools Qatar has embraced to promote cross-cultural dialogue and promote the unity of diverse nations and people. To mark the 74th anniversary of the UN Charter entering into force, UN Day 2019 featured keynote addresses from Qatari and UN officials.
Watch here: https://www.iloveqatar.net/videos/qatarEvents/qatar-hosted-un-day-2019-in-new-york
On 16 October 2019, Qatar’s Minister of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs Yousef bin Mohamed al-Othman al-Fakhr announced that the cabinet had approved a series of draft laws that would give migrants workers of all categories more rights and protection, including the possibility of switching jobs while the contract is still valid.
Read more here: Kafala abolishment, minimum worker wage to be announced in January 2020
The ANOC World Beach Games Qatar 2019 takes place on 11-16 October. More than 1,200 athletes representing all the five continents, competed in 14 disciplines across 13 sports at the event. There was also a free Fan Zone to give visitors a chance to sample the excitement of the five-day-long sports extravaganza in a truly thrilling atmosphere.
Read more here: ANOC World Beach Games 2019 Fan Zone full of events and activities
Qatar Museums presented the first exhibition in the Middle East by KAWS (at the Fire Station. Following the opening of ‘KAWS: He Eats Alone at the Fire Station’, Qatar Museums unveiled ‘Holiday,’ an installation by US-born artist, Brian Donnelly – known as KAWS. The work was on display at the Dhow Harbour, for the first time in the Middle East that contributed to Qatar’s growing portfolio of permanent and temporary public art pieces.
The Ministry of Interior (MoI) and the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs (MADLSA) announced a number of measures on work and residence permits to be implemented soon. The measures include allowing the sons of residents to work in the private sector without changing their sponsorship. New decisions also include granting a new visa for temporary work in some professions.
Watch this video for more details: New measures announced on work and residence permits in Qatar
The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) announced the completion of the reclamation and rehabilitation project in Al Karaana Lagoon on 16 November 2019. The project also aims to protect and enhance the Qatari environment by rehabilitating the area and transforming it from an unfavorable habitat into a wildlife habitat with diverse species of birds and fish. It also provides a green rest stop with clean water for migratory birds flocking over the country.
Read more here: Al Karaana Lagoon: A new healthy habitat for wildlife in Qatar
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain participated in this year's Arabian Gulf Cup football tournament in Qatar, reversing an earlier decision to boycott the event. The Gulf cup took place from 26 November to 8 December 2019 and it’s the fourth time Doha hosts this championship.
Read more here: All you need to know about the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup 2019 in Qatar Gulf-cup-2019
The 2022 building was unveiled at Aspire Zone on 2 December to coincide with Qatar’s winning the bid to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup. The building stands out due to its unique design in the shape of numerals 2022. The 60-thousand-square-metre mixed-use building includes administrative offices, integrated health club, restaurants, and cafes as well as meeting rooms and a lecture theater.
Qatar is the host for this year's FIFA Club World Cup that kicked off on 11 December and the champions were crowned on 21 December.
This year witnessed many accomplishments made by the Public Works Authority (Ashghal) in all infrastructure projects such as highways, local roads, sewage and others as the Authority accomplished more than 150 km of highway works from the beginning of the year until last October, which increased the length of the highway network accomplished by the Authority to over 750 km.
Ashghal will open the Tilted Intersection to traffic on Friday, October 4, 2019. The intersection includes a signalized roundabout, which is designed differently from usual roundabouts. The new intersection aims to facilitate the access to several vital facilities in the area such as Sidra Medical, Qatar National Convention Center, Qatar Foundation and Education City.
The Public Works Authority (Ashghal) has inaugurated the main carriageway and three vital interchanges on Al Khor Road. The opening of the 33-kilometre Al Khor Road main carriageway, 5 lanes in each direction, linking Doha to Al Khor was delivered one year ahead of schedule, which was originally set to open in the second quarter of 2020. Simaisma Interchange, the interchange on Al Majd Road and the interchange on Al Turfa Street are now fully open to traffic.
Al Majd Road
Ashghal opened the 195 km Al Majd Road, which extends from Mesaieed in the South to Al-Khor in the North and Lusail in the East. This will reduce trip times by more than 50 percent.
New Trauma and Emergency Center at Hamad General Hospital
Regarding building projects, Ashghal completed the work of the new Trauma and Emergency Center at Hamad General Hospital, which has four times the capacity of the old building.
A number of prominent figures from art and media visited Qatar this year like Johnny Depp, Lucas Evans and Zoe Saldana, Chace Crawford, Mo Salah, Jason Derulo, Indian music director, and producer A. R. Rahman, Shakira, British model Naomi Campbell, US film director John Bailey, Indian actress Sonam Kapoor, French fashion designer Olivier Rousteing, Japanese ceramic artist Yo Akiyama, British singer and fashion designer Victoria Beckham, Dutch architect Rem Koolhas and many more! Also, Maroon 5, Katy Perry, Maluma and many more artists performed live in Qatar.
A team of volunteers is currently making waves in Qatar through their movement on beach clean-ups as well as their efforts on rooting out plastic pollution. Doha Environmental Actions Project (DEAP) is such a volunteering organisation leading the beach cleanup movement and fights against plastic pollution in Qatar. H.E Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has also participated in on of the beach cleanups at the ancient town of Freiha along with the members of Qatar Museum, Al Baladiya, ILoveQatar, and many other volunteers.
To support the initiative, IloveQatar.Net lends its hand by creating awareness through content creation on plastic pollution as well as by actively participating in clean-up initiatives. On top of it, we have adopted a recycling initiative to help our team to learn and practice to instill a culture of environmental responsibility and sustainability.
By simply placing the used plastic bottles, glasses or cans into the right bin, our team members are joining the recycling movements. Moreover, we encourage our team to switch to reusable bags and not to use any plastic straws. A penalty system has been also introduced in the event of a failure of maintaining that practice.
What milestone of 2019 holds the best memories for you? Drop us a line in the comments below and don't forget to give us a like and a share - you know it keeps us going!
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