The six-week-long entertainment festival being organised by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) in October has triggered a debate among nationals and expatriates, with some expressing the view that the timing of the festival is not appropriate.
The festival, dubbed Doha Park, is scheduled to begin on October 6 and continue until November 17, ending with the Eid Al Adha holidays.
Several nationals say the summer holidays were a better time to hold such a festival since there were no official festivities planned for this summer and Eid.
“It is better to hold the festival during summer. October is not a suitable time because it comes immediately after opening of the schools. Being the beginning of the new academic year, students will be busy with their studies and the festival could divert their attention,” said Syed Hassan, a national.
He added that fewer nationals and expatriates had travelled out of the country this summer and they could have enjoyed the festival better had it been held at that time.
“It would be better to start the festival on the second day of Eid Al Fitr. All families would be able to attend. It could provide a better chance for students to celebrate the holidays before the schools reopen.
“Such festivals should be held during the official holidays so that they can better promote local tourism,” added Hassan.
He also suggested that the festival be held in a professional manner and media campaign is carried out to attract foreign tourists.
Mohammed Al Saigh and Abdullah Al Habari, both nationals, also aired more or less similar views.
“For a fun festival, the best time is the summer holidays. We cannot predict how would be the response when it is held in October. We wish it would attract local and foreign tourists,” said Al Saigh.
Al Habari said the timing was not suitable for students. “Holding such events on such occasion is a wrong decision. The best time is the summer and the official holidays. Many expatriates are not travelling this time,” said Al Habari.
“Such events are very important from a tourism point of view. A media campaign is necessary to promote the event,” he added.
Salman Al Sulaiti, a Qatari writer, however, felt that there was nothing wrong with the QTA decision.
“Summer is not good for such a festival because most people will be travelling out of the country. The festival would fail to attract enough people if it is held during summer,” said Al Sulaiti.
He said the timing would not affect the students since it runs for six weeks continuously. They can visit the festival during the weekends.
“QTA is trying to attract foreign tourists. Regardless of the timing, the festival should be held on an annual basis,” he added.
Imad Abdul Aleem Al Saawi, an Arab expatriate also felt that the timing was appropriate.
“It is very difficult to be held during summer due to the soaring temperature and humidity. Most people would prefer to remain indoors,” he added.